John 2: 13-25
When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus travelled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.
Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”
But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.”
They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.
During the time he was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them.
Today’s Gospel gets our attention immediately. Jesus has just arrived in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. He immediately goes to the temple. When he arrived at the temple, the situation he found there infuriated Him. Yes, there were many people in the temple. However, most of there were not there to pray. There were an astounding number of money changers and also people selling animals for sacrifice!
Jesus absolutely “lost” it! He took a length of cord, made a whip and began driving all these people out of the temple! They were desecrating this beautiful and sacred temple. How dare they? The temple was built and dedicated to be a place for prayer and worship. It was not built to be a market place! Jesus was infuriated! Yet he also was saddened that the people would desecrate such a holy, beautiful and sacred place.
Today may be a day to ask ourselves: what and where are our sacred places? What are the places that are sacred to us? It might be a church, a forest, the mountains, the ocean or simply a swing in our backyard or special chair in our house. We all need sacred places in our lives. These sacred places enable us to experience and open ourselves to God’s presence in the beauty, the silence, the peace – be that in nature, the quiet space in your house or a church.
Sacred places and spaces help to ground us in God. And thus, we may experience God’s presence in that place more intensely and more tangibly. A sacred place as well as a sacred activity (such as simply sitting quietly in a chair) also may help us open ourselves more deeply to God’s presence, word and grace.
Today I invite you to deliberately sit quietly with God for 5, 10, or 30 minutes. We may receive many gifts and deep peace as we quietly and peacefully simply sit with God! God longs for us and God is waiting for us! Will we come?