Cleansing the Temple

Format for Holy Hour

Scripture Reading: John 2:13–25

Context: After reading the Scripture above at least once, read the following bullet points that offer a short but detailed teaching on the Cleansing of the Temple:

  • The Feast of Passover was the most important feast each year. All males were required to appear before the Lord. Many did this by making a pilgrimage to the Temple to offer a sacrifice to God.
  • Those who were rich offered sheep or oxen. Those who were poor offered a turtle dove or pigeon. 
  • Because of the Feast, the Temple was overwhelmed with people, many of them trying to make money off of the religious duty to appear before the Lord and to offer sacrifice.
  • Saint Ignatius notes that Jesus drove the money changers and those who sold large animals out of the Temple with much vigor and force, but those who sold the turtle doves and pigeons only received an exhortation to take them out of the Temple.
  • Jesus identifies Himself with the Temple, calling it His “Father’s house.”
  • When the Jews ask for a sign that Jesus has authority to drive everyone out, He says that if they destroy the Temple, then He will rebuild it in three days. This is a prophecy about Jesus rising from the dead three days after they kill Him.
  • Jesus also makes it clear that the true “Temple” is His own body. He is the new Temple in which the fullness of God dwells.
  • The Temple also can be understood as our souls insofar as God dwells in us. We become the temple of God. One of the missions of Jesus is to drive out from our souls every sin with zeal.

Reflection: Read the Scriptural story once again and then begin your contemplation by pondering the following:

  • Ponder the coming of the Feast. Imagine the months and weeks leading up to this. Imagine the planning and anticipation. Consider all involved for the months prior to this encounter: money changers, sellers, rich, poor, all pilgrims, and Jesus and His disciples.
  • Imagine the commotion of an overcrowded Temple area, the smell of animals, the noise, the greed, the blood of animals in the Temple, the dry heat, etc.
  • Imagine the arrival of Jesus at the Temple. Ponder the righteous anger that wells up in Him as He witnesses the desecration of His Father’s house.
  • Ponder the whip of cords, Jesus driving out the animals, turning over the tables, etc.
  • Now turn to the temple of your soul. It is also the Father’s house. You are a sacred dwelling of God.
  • See also the sin and filth that you have permitted into your soul. As you do, see Jesus as He sees this sin and with great zeal seeks to drive it out. What is your response? Is it gratitude? Or do you resist?

Featured Image:Christ Cleansing the Temple by El Greco

Introduction to Meditations for Ordinary Time

  1. Baptism of the Lord
  2. Two Standards
  3. Three Classes of Men
  4. Temptation
  5. Calling of Apostles
  6. Wedding at Cana
  7. Cleansing the Temple
  8. Sermon on the Mount
  9. Calming the Storm
  10. Walking on Water
  11. The Apostles were Sent to Preach
  12. Conversion of Mary Magdalene
  13. How Christ Fed the Five Thousand
  14. Transfiguration of Christ
  15. Resurrection of Lazarus
  16. Supper in Bethany
  17. Three Ways of Humility

Table of Contents

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