Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cleansing by a whip of cords

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The Lord Jesus was truly upset with how the Temple, which was his Father’s house, was transformed into a marketplace. He therefore proceeded to cleanse the Temple by making a whip out of cords and by driving away whatsoever defiled the holiness of the Temple. However, when asked to justify what he had done, he challenged the Jews to destroy the Temple and he will build it up in 3 days. But John was quick to comment: Jesus was speaking about the Temple of his Body. How could Jesus refer to his Body as the Temple? Perhaps, we should first clarify: What is a Temple? Simply put, the Temple is the house of God. Although God dwells everywhere, he designated the Temple as his dwelling place so that people may easily find him when they search for him. If a person is looking for a king, he should go to the palace. If a person is looking for a priest, he should go to the rectory. If a person is looking for God, he should go to the Temple. In this way, the body of the Lord Jesus is most appropriately called the Temple of God because in that body of his dwells the fullness of the Divinity. In his sacred Body dwells the 2nd Person of the Trinity. Indeed, his human Body is the glorious Temple of God because it is radiant in its purity and glory. This was what we saw in last Sunday’s Transfiguration: Christ’s Body was transfigured before his disciples. In Christ’s human Body, the disciples saw his Glory, the glory of God’s only begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

By virtue of Baptism, our bodies are also Temples because we have received the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are Temples of the Holy Spirit. However, our temples are not as radiant as that of the Lord Jesus. Because we have fallen for the seduction of Satan, we have also made a marketplace out of the Father’s house. Therefore, in order to be truly worthy Temples of the Holy Spirit, we have to purify ourselves of everything that defiles the Temple. This we can do by imitating what the Lord did in today’s reading: He made a whip out of cords and drove them out of the temple area. The whip of cords would refer to our acts of mortification: fasting and abstinence. It would refer to our acts of self-denial, to the mortification not just of our bodies but also of our wills. When we obey the commandments of God instead of pursuing our own will, we mortify our will in favor of the will of God. We purify ourselves when we carry our Cross everyday in order to proclaim Christ Crucified. We are cleansed when in our flesh we take up what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church.

It is important that we cleanse ourselves with mortification and penance if we wish our bodies to bear resemblance with Christ’s glorified body on the day of the resurrection. The Lord Jesus allowed his body to be whipped, to be scourged, to be crowned with thorns, to bear the heavy weight of the Cross and to it be nailed. Although he was sinless, Son though he was, Jesus was made perfect by suffering. If we wish to be glorified with Jesus, we must suffer with Jesus, be buried with Jesus so that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in us. (Rom 8:11). The Lord will also raise our lowly bodies and  will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body…(Phil 3:21) Let us always keep in mind that the Temple of God is holy and you are that Temple!

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

No comments:

Post a Comment