One of the questions Jesus is asking us in the gospel is: is your heart like the temple in the Gospel or in the first reading?
Like the temple in the Gospel, our heart can be full of preoccupation with things that are not really important, with greed and selfishness, with wild animals – uncontrolled emotions – and of sin, all the unforgiven evil things we have done. And so, just like the temple in the gospel, our heart is a place of disorder, and chaos and unwelcome, which colours everything we do in the same way.
Or our heart can be like the temple in the first readings: a place filled with peace and light an endless flow of living water – the Holy Spirit. A heart where God is first, and so everything is more and more in order. This colours everything we do too: what we do is not stale and lifeless, but fruitful – it brings life to others, grows the Church, and changes history.
Which heart do we want? We don’t automatically have a light-filled heart – we need to invite Jesus in to clean out all the rubbish:
- by making prayer time with him a non-negotiable for every day,
- receiving him in the Eucharist every Sunday,
- and have our spiritual cleansing in confession once a month – or if you need, by grabbing me straight after mass.
It works because Jesus really cares about you – the point of his whole life is to help us – and because he is the creator, what he does always works.
Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.