What does it mean that Jesus went into the temple where they were selling things and threw everybody out? (Gospel of Luke, Chapter 19, Verse 45+) Was he just in a fit of rage? Having a meltdown?
To answer this question, it helps to ask, Who was in charge of the temple that he cleansed?
Naturally, it would have been the religious leaders of the time. So the cleansing of the temple by Jesus reflects his authority over those leaders who were constantly trying to trap him. In a number of passages following this one, we often hear it described that he was “teaching in the temple.” His actions reveal his rightful place as a teacher, and especially as one who teaches with authority.
A more personal application can be helpful to us, though, as we reflect on the state of our own “temple.”
Do you allow Jesus to come into the temple of your body and cleanse it? Do you cooperate with him as he tries to unburden you of any self-deceptive tendencies weighing you down? Sometimes we are dishonest with ourselves and rationalize away things that need to be faced.
One of the best ways to cleanse our temple is to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is an encounter with Christ, where he gives us his grace and absolves us from our sins.
But even beyond our sins, cleansing our temple can be in our best interest—and that of others. If I strive for purity of heart, self-less love and a deep relationship with God, there simply will not be a lot of room left for the lesser things of life, those things that attract us, and deceive us, into thinking they will satisfy.
Spend some time in prayer this week, asking God to show you what you need to throw, where you need to grow, and where you are getting it right.