MY FATHER’S HOUSE OF PRAYER
Today the author of Revelation reflects, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel before him, on his prophetic role. The word of God is sweet-tasting to him, but contains a bitter message of warning he has to preach.
Jesus drove out the merchants from the Temple and it might be a good time to ask ourselves: What has the Lord to drive out from us to make us better Christians? What stands in the way of being closer to him in the life of every day? What matters for us Christians is that we are attached to the Lord and close to the people he has entrusted to us. Then we can worship him with our whole life.
God our Father, we often turn our hearts into houses of pride and greed rather than into homes of love and goodness where you can feel at home. Destroy the temple of sin in us, drive away all evil from our hearts, and make us living stones of a community in which can live and reign your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever and ever. Amen!
I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me. Then the voice spoke to me and said: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.” I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
Responsorial Psalm PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches. R.
Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors. R.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. R.
How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth! R.
Your decrees are my inheritance forever; the joy of my heart they are. R.
I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands. R.
Alleluia John 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 19:45-48
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.
The story told in today’s Gospel takes place in the courtyards of the Temple of Jerusalem, the place Jesus visited before his passion. There he purifies and preaches: His furious gesture is followed by an explanation. The reaction of the witnesses, as it usually happens in the pages of the gospel, varies between the authorities and the people. Let us highlight three details from this page.
• The reasons for Christ’s condemnation. The four Gospels record the expulsion of the sellers from the Temple, although John does not summon him on the very eve of his passion. All four agree that this event of cleansing the temple was the immediate reason that prompted the religious authorities to condemn Jesus to death: His public and blasphemous action against the most august institution of the Jewish religion: The Temple.
• The reason for a prophetic gesture. To have turned a space of encounter with God into a den of murky business – Jesus clearly denounces it. The most sacred can become filthy and wicked. It happens when intentions and interests that move religious practices are corrupted: The temple was misused – not love nor serve God, but it was used to obtain disgusting results. This was unbearable for Jesus.
• The lethargy of the people. This daring and scandalous performance of Jesus did not go unnoticed. Nor does it go unnoticed by us. But we should not spend much time debating whether or not this was an act of violence by Christ. The crux of the matter is to understand that such a vehement reaction from the Prince of Peace, from the meek and humble of heart, must have been due to an extremely serious reason.
It is up to us to review—and perhaps repair—the intention and orientation of our Christian life. Because it can become something like a business. When love is lacking, profits, advantages or privileges are inevitably sought. God does not lend himself to buying and selling. He does not like that!
– That in our churches the Christians community may experience the presence of God in prayer and joyful worship, we pray:
– That we may make our houses of prayer places of hearty encounter for God with his people, we pray:
– That as living stones of the Church we may build up our communities as people who love and serve, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, our Father, with the bread of life and the wine of joy of himself, your Son will renew his covenant with us. Let Jesus give us the will and the love to be faithful to its demands the way he was faithful to it even if it meant the cross. Let us give you true worship through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
God, our faithful Father, you have given us in this Eucharist your Son Jesus Christ to show us in him what loyal obedience means. Let your Son be alive in us, so that our Christian community may be the temple in which he lives and where he gathers us together as his brothers and sisters. Keep us from all formalism, that we may worship you with our lives, by the power and wisdom of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
By his word and actions Jesus has spoken to us today that we must serve God as he himself did: in spirit and in truth, that is: our everyday living must correspond to what we believe, in loyal service of God and people. May God bless you and guide you: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!