In today's gospel we learn about how Jesus drove out the money changers and merchants in temple, which was supposed to be a sacred place of worship for God.
Holy Spirit, fill my heart and illuminate my mind. Help me to hear and understand God's message today. Help me to recognise when God is trying to speak to me in my daily life. Amen
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, 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 cordsand drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changersand 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, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP1z86wtwKU (Credit to Catholic Kids Media)
Ask: What are some places that we believe are holy? (churches, shrines, altars, the tabernacle) What makes a place holy? (A place is holy because we experience God’s presence there.) What do we do at holy places? (worship God, gather for celebrations)
Say: Just as we have important holy places where we gather to pray and to worship God, there was a special holy place for the Jewish people in Jerusalem when Jesus was alive. This place was the Temple. It was first built by King Solomon to house the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the tablets on which were written the Ten Commandments. That first temple was destroyed in 587 B.C., long before Jesus was born. But a second temple was built in its place when the Jewish people were able to return to Jerusalem. This is the Temple that Jesus knew, and it had recently been expanded under King Herod. But Jesus does an unusual thing at the Temple in today’s Gospel.
Ask: What did Jesus do in today’s Gospel? (He cleared out the merchants and moneychangers from the Temple.) Why do you think that he did this? (He said that they were making the Temple look more like a marketplace.) Say: The merchants were selling animals to people who came to worship at the Temple. The people offered the animals in sacrifice as part of their prayer. The moneychangers were exchanging Roman coins for temple coins because the Roman coins were engraved with the image of the emperor, who said that he was like a god. These coins could not be used when making an offering at the Temple.
Ask: What was Jesus’ response to the people who asked for a sign to show his authority to do this? (Jesus said that he would destroy this Temple and raise it up in three days.)What do the people say in response? (They said that such a feat would be impossible; they knew that it had taken 46 years to build the Temple.) The Gospel tells us that Jesus' disciples would later have a different understanding about what he said. What would the disciples understand Jesus to mean? (The disciples would understand this to be a reference to Jesus' death and Resurrection.) When did the disciples begin to understand this? (only after Jesus' Resurrection)
Say: The Gospel of John was written many years after Jesus' death and Resurrection. The Romans had destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Jewish people could no longer worship there. This was a terrible and sad event for the Jewish people. But the Jewish people continued to worship God in their homes and in synagogues. In today's reading, we hear one way in which the Christian community tried to understand the destruction of the Temple.
Say: As Christians, we experience God's presence in many ways. We believe that the places where we gather as a community to pray—our churches— are holy. We also believe that Christ is present in a special way in the Eucharist, which is reserved in the tabernacle in our churches so that we can pray in Christ's presence.
Conclude in prayer together asking God to help us offer wholehearted praise and worship. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.
Father in heaven, we give you today, all that we think, and do, and say, and we join it with all that was done by Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen