Jesus drives the merchants out of the Temple



 One of the readings for today's Mass1 narrates a passage from the Book of Maccabees, when Judas and his brothers, after defeating their enemies, decided to purify and renew the sanctuary of the Lord, which had been profaned by the Gentiles and by those who had not remained faithful to the faith of their elders. They went there full of joy, with singing, with harps, with lyres and with cymbals. And all the people fell on their faces, and worshiped and blessed God. They celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days and offered burnt offerings and sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise with great rejoicing. They adorned the front of the Temple with wreaths of gold and with shields, and dedicated the doors and the chambers of the ministers. And there was great joy among the people, and the reproach of the nations was taken away. Judas Maccabeus determined to celebrate that day every year with great solemnity. The people of God, after so many years of opprobrium, manifested their piety and their love for their God with overflowing joy.


The Gospel of the Mass2 shows us Jesus saintly indignation at the situation in which the Temple found itself, so much so that he expelled from there those who were selling and buying. In Exodus3 Moses had already ordered that no Israelite should appear in the Temple without anything to offer. To facilitate the fulfillment of this provision for those who came from afar, a service for the buying and selling of animals to be sacrificed had been set up in the Temple courts, and it ended up being a true market of livestock for sacrifice. What in the beginning could have been tolerable and even convenient, had degenerated in such a way that the religious intention of the beginning had been subordinated to the economic benefits of those merchants, who perhaps were the same servants of the Temple. The Temple came to seem more like a cattle fair than a place of encounter with God4.



The Lord, moved by zeal for his Father's house , by a piety that was born from the depths of his heart, could not bear that deplorable spectacle and threw them all out of there with their tables and their livestock. Jesus underlines the purpose of the Temple with a text from Isaiah well known to all6: My house shall be a house of prayer. And he added: But you have made it a den of thieves. The Lord wanted to inculcate in everyone the respect and composure that should be shown in the Temple because of its sacred character. How should our respect and devotion be in the Christian temple - in the churches - where the Eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated and where Jesus Christ, God and Man, is truly present in the Tabernacle! "There is an urbanity of piety. -Learn it. -Those "pious" men who do not know how to attend Mass, even though they hear it every day, or to make the sign of the cross, or to kneel before the tabernacle, their ridiculous genuflections seem a mockery, or to bow their heads reverently before an image of Our Lady, are pitiful "


Hablar con Dios