Cleansing our inner Temple

Homily for March 4, Friday of the VIII week in Ordinary Time, year I Click on the “play” button above to listen, or click here to download the MP3 audio file

Some days it’s hard for me to find a good theme for my homily using the day’s readings. The scripture passages we have today, by way of contrast, had the opposite effect; at least five different homily ideas popped right out at me. After thinking it over, I have decided to go with homily option #4, and I’ll keep the rest for future years.

Let’s focus on just one part of today’s Gospel reading: the episode when Jesus goes into the temple and throws out the merchants and money changers. He explains His actions by quoting from the Old Testament, saying that the Temple should be a house of prayer, whereas it had become a den of thieves. The magnificent structure that had been built to be a place of praise, prayer and sacrifice to God, had become like a disreputable street market, full of noise and dishonest commerce.

St Paul tells us that each one of us is a temple. By Baptism, we have become dwelling places of God, living tabernacles of the Trinity. Jesus teaches us that we must pray “in Spirit and in truth”, in the sacred space of our souls, and listen to the small, still voice of God. The problem is that all the noise and images and information that bombard us through television, the internet, the radio, and other social media, often fill our minds and our souls with distractions. We have a hard time praying or hearing the voice of God, because it is drowned out by the attractions of the world which constantly vie for our attention, trying to sell us earthly ambitions, concerns, and pleasures.

We are about to start one of the most spiritually important parts of our year: six weeks of intensified prayer, fasting and almsgiving that culminate in the celebration of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. We need to purify our interior temple, casting out anything that is an obstacle to our interior union with God. Let us ask Christ to help us to have the honesty, willpower, and motivation to free our souls of the cacophony of worldly distraction and to fill them with prayer and God’s peace, so we may reap all the rich spiritual fruit of Lent and Easter.

About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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