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Luke 19:45-48

The Word of God

Then Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, "It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers." Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

Luke 19:45-48
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • We never think of Jesus losing his temper, yet that is what he did when he entered the temple and saw it set up just like a marketplace. Anger is not a bad thing, as some of us might believe; it is what we do with anger that can cause pain and upset
    • The place I live can be a house of prayer, a place where God feels welcome and at home. I say to God: ‘Make yourself at home: you’re always welcome!’ Here and now, let Sacred Space be a ‘house of prayer’ for you. God’s Word is active, transforming me, even though I may not notice the changes until later.
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    • For Jesus, the harshest criticism was reserved for the religious leaders. For Jesus, the reality of the love his Abba had for Him coloured everything in His life. He was saddened and outraged by the distorting of this image of God by some of the religious leaders. Talk with Jesus about His Abba.
    • How could people who were dedicated to the observance of God’s law get it so wrong? Our Church is a church of sinners, for sinners and by sinners. And we are greatly, greatly loved by the Abba God!
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    • Jesus is an example of the true prophet. He speaks as a messenger of God and is indeed God’s own Son. He stands as a counter-witness to all that is against truth, love and justice and as such inevitably incurs the anger and hostility of those who have power.
    • The Church, in its communities and through individuals, is called on to continue that mission of counter-witness. This will lead to both support and hostility. This is something we should not at all be surprised at nor something we should try to avoid. Our only concern must be always to speak the truth in love. God will take care of the rest. Because, ultimately, truth, love and justice will prevail.
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    • What Jesus is objecting to is corruption of the sacred. My body and my soul are a temple of the Lord and belong to the Lord. Is this temple of his a sacred space, a house of prayer? Or is it given over to the false gods of money and greed?
    • ‘Hanging on Jesus’ words’- how the people in this episode would have envied us, we who can read or listen to the words of Jesus any time we want!
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    • We can feel the growing tension, as Jesus forcefully challenges the way things were done in the holiest place of Judaism. It is so easy to lose sight of the real value of religious actions and rituals, ending up sometimes in shameful compromises.
    • The gospels often draw a stark contrast between the attitude of the chief priests, the scribes and leaders, and that of the common people. The latter are always seen as more open to God’s presence in Jesus, while the religious leaders are trying to eliminate him. I ask for a simple heart, open to novelty and able to wonder.
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    • The contrast between the ideal and the reality struck Jesus forcibly: the holy house had become a commercial opportunity; the needs of the hungry people were ignored by the scheming authorities. If I am confronted by everyday tensions between ideals and experience, I pray that I not become cynical but stand with Jesus, keeping in mind what God desires.
    • Although he saw the contradictions there, Jesus chose the Temple as the place to which he went to teach. I ask Jesus to help me to witness to his Good News wherever I am - even if it doesn't seem ideal to me.
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    • As you read this text, realise that Jesus is reminding you that he wishes to meet you in your heart room – your ‘house of prayer’. Without realising it, we frequently clutter up that space with less important interests and Jesus has to try and drive them out. It’s a great gift to communicate with the Lord and to try and co-operate with him in making space for what really matters in our life.
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    • In John's Gospel he places the account of the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Luke, however, who supplies less detail, places it near the end. This allows him to link it with the plotting of Jesus' enemies against him. Luke is building up the atmosphere of hostility that will lead to the eventual arrest, torture and death of Jesus.
    • Can the Christian life ever be without tensions and conflicts? What in the church today needs cleansing?
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    • Temple-goers seem not to have noticed what the hucksters had done to the holy place, as they changed money and sold animals for sacrifice. They were offering a service, like the souvenir shops in Lourdes, the event managers of weddings, and the organisers of First Communion parties and outfits. Commerce tends to grow and grow when it finds a market, so the Temple, the place of prayer, degenerated into a sort of marketplace. Jesus needed to challenge the drift and reassert its holiness. Does it happen in my life, Lord? You desire to dwell in this temple that is my body, but first the pressure to survive, and then the appetite for more money, can so possess me that I find little space for you. Please make my soul a place of prayer.
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    • Sacred Space makes my poor heart a ‘house of prayer’. God is active there, transforming me, even though I notice the changes only later.
    • In praying Sacred Space, am I ever ‘spellbound’ by what I read?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • We never think of Jesus losing his temper, yet that is what he did when he entered the temple and saw it set up just like a market place. Anger is not a bad thing as some of us might believe; it is what we do with the anger that can cause pain and upset.
    • Lord help us to turn to you whenever we feel that we are out of control. In situations that upset and hurt us Lord help us to call upon you to be with us and help us do the right thing.
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    • The house I live in can be a house of prayer, a place where God feels welcome and at home. I say to God: ‘Make yourself at home: you’re always welcome!’
    • ‘The people were spellbound by what they heard.’ When I listen to the Word of God or read it for myself I need to do so as if I had never heard it before. It comes to me fresh, original, every day. It’s like bread just taken from the oven, ready to nourish me for the day.
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    • The minds of the people are opening as the minds of the officials are closing. They both reacted to the same words and actions. I think of my habitual reactions and ask Jesus to shape them.
    • Jesus calls me to the clarity with which he saw the world. I am made to give glory to God and to shed any way of living that is not worthy of the ‘temple’ that I am.