Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
Let us pray. J says, “For just this hour, follow me. Listen to my word. Think about your life as my disciple. Pray, sing, & follow me.” Amen.
Priest @ the Vatican
Before he can leave, a group of Cardinals ask: What right do you have to behave like this?
The priest answers: We don’t need a Pope or candles or anything else; someday soon you will see.
Now this story is not an exact parallel w/ our Gospel. No other story can do justice to what J did; the event is that unique.
The Temple was the heart of Judaism – worship & music, politics & society, national celebration & mourning.
There were more animals (dead & alive) there than anywhere
Above all, it was the place where Yahweh lived; the focal point of the nation
An unknown prophet from Galilee turns everything upside down!
Have we lost the shock value of this scene?
The story is in all 4 Gospels
Here at the beginning; otherwise, at the end of J’s ministry
Regardless of when it happened, we know why the Jewish authorities had it out for J
Today, we need to answer:
Why J did what he did
What was wrong w/ the Temple
When asked for a sign, why did J answer like he did
It is Passover, & J is the Passover lamb; J is giving new meaning to Passover (liberation, freedom, rescue from slavery, salvation)
Buying & trading were necessary – or were they?
J thinks it is corrupt & under God’s judgment
It’s focus had been lost, from God’s presence to a marketplace
J’s answer cryptically refers to his death & resurrection
J is the true temple; he is the Word made flesh, the place where the glory of God has chosen to make his dwelling. The Jews had ancient traditions about the Temple being destroyed & rebuilt. It had happened before, & many thought it would happen again. Herod the Great had begun a program of rebuilding the Temple, & now, 46 years later, one of his sons was completing it. J takes these traditions & applies them to himself. He is the reality to which the Temple points. His death & resurrection will be the reality to which the Passover celebration points.
I hope the meaning & lesson of this passage is clear to us:
Traditions & ceremony are great – as long as they aren’t the focus; as long as they don’t become the end to the means
Which means, the Church must constantly check itself to ensure that we are keeping the main thing the main thing
J alone brings us into right relationship w/ the Father
Our liberation, freedom, rescue & salvation are found in J – alone