Armodoxy for Today: Cleansing
During this week, the Scriptural reading given to us by the Church follows the first miracle – the water into wine – which we encountered yesterday. John 2:12-22, shares the story of Jesus cleaning the temple.
Jesus found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
In the synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke – a story similar to this appears as Jesus makes his final entry into Jerusalem, the day traditionally referred to as Palm Sunday. In the Gospel of John, we read the story at the beginning of his ministry. Building on the topic of “Maturity of Faith” from yesterday’s Armodoxy lesson, we may assume that the cleansing of the temple was not a singular event.
The Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, is distributed and received every week. The repetitive nature of the Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion is an expression of Jesus coming into our lives, not only once, but always there to remove and cleanse all that does not belong in the sanctity of our lives.
The Gospel continues, So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. “Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
The Cleansing of the Temple is a scene right out of the movies. It speaks to people on many levels. It is the man-of-principle going up against the corporate machine. It is the individual versus the institution. Most importantly, it is Jesus Christ entering our temple, our lives. Once there, he is ready to clean house, to remove the hatred, the laziness, the envy and jealousy that are doing business there. It is up to us, as is the case in the story, whether we argue with him, stop him from doing so, or open ourselves to the cleansing he provides.
Let us pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, you enter the Temple in Jerusalem to clean out all who do not belong there. Come into the holiness of my temple and wash me thoroughly from my sin. Rid my life of pride, envy, anger, laziness, gluttony, lust and covetousness, and should they return may your Holy Body and Blood be forever cleansing me, into your Kingdom. Amen.”