Are we really, truly aware that baptised Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit? Do the ways we pray each day reflect that reality and in the way we live our daily lives? Is our temple kept pure, dirt-free and focused on its solid foundation? Or has it perhaps become what someone has compared to a “rundown shack that will collapse in the first strong wind”?
Our First Reading reveals how the Lord provides the People of God with a guide to keep us from harming our temples. But if we ignore those guidelines (actually Commandments, not just guidelines), then harmful straying is inevitable. This is what happened to the old Temple system. It had become corrupt, in the sense that it had become simply a “mechanical function” to perform with no real transformation of the heart. It needed a real inner cleansing, and the symbolic actions of Jesus in “cleansing the temple” (John 2:13-25) are intended to focus on the need for real spiritual action and reform. Jesus is saying that he himself is the new temple, one that will last forever and cannot be destroyed.
We need to be fully aware that the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, are the nourishment that we need to cleanse and transform us. Holy Eucharist really is Jesus; it really is the power to transform us from within, and its worthy reception (i.e., after Reconciliation) is the key to a properly- placed spiritual journey to God.
We are half-way through Lent – a good time to check the condition of our temple and humble ourselves to accept a house-cleaning with God’s help! We will be able to minister to each other effectively only if we first cultivate to our own spiritual health.
Jesus annually went up to the Temple as the privileged place for the meeting with God. He was far from being hostile to the Temple. His hostility was only directed at the way the system had been corrupted. He identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s absolute dwelling place among men.