November 9, The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
The prayer and the life
Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, 16 and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Jn 2,13-21
This passage is crucial. In fact, in a different way, it is reported by all the four evangelists, such as the events of the death and of the resurrection and of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus drives out the merchants from the temple, adding: “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace”. And Mark specifies: “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mk 11,17). Then, in the discussion with the jews, Jesus says: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”. The evangelist, with reference to the resurrection adds: “But he spoke of the temple of his body”, which means that the resurrected Jesus is the temple of the new worship, then the prayers and the offers to God must go through Jesus, our Lord. All this is confirmed by Peter: “Come to him, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Pt 2,4-5). Peter also recommends that the spiritual sacrifices, namely the offers, are “welcomed by God”: these have not to be hypocrites, but consistent with the choices of life. Turning to the practical: you cannot steal or not to pay the taxes and then give alms to the poor people: honor the parents by words and abandon them when they are in the elderly age. It is not acceptable to God to present offers to the Lord and after to practice the abortion, to dismiss workers without any subsidy and to give alms in church. Lord, we realize that the coherence of life is constantly threatened by our frailty: enlighten our minds so that they can discern clearly the right from the wrong and warm our hearts to the purpose that we can love what you are asking to us.