Gospel: Jn 2:13-22
As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple court he found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away, and stop making a marketplace of my Father‘s house!“
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: Zeal for your house devours me like fire.
The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?“ And Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.“ The Jews then replied, “The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?“
Actually, Jesus was referring to the temple of his body. Only when he had risen from the dead did his disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.
One time after a wedding, during the pictorials, I was not able to control myself. I returned back to the church and shouted very loudly and angrily to the noisy crowd: “Quiet! You are in a church. Respect the Church.“ Not to justify my unbecoming action, but with It, I understood deeply what Jesus did in the temple in today‘s gospel.
Why did Jesus do it? Why did I do it? The Feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica has the answer.
On the front façade of the basilica, prominently written are these words: “OMNIUM ECCLESIARUM URBIS ET ORBIS MATER ET CAPUT“ “Mother and head of all churches of Rome and the World“ The Basilica is the first church of Christianity given by the Roman Emperor, erected on the land donated by the Laterani Family, dedicated to Our Savior, the Cathedral Church of the Pope, the bishop of Rome. A building set apart for worship.
More importantly than the historical event and value, the basilica same with all parish churches, shrines, chapels and oratories are God‘s special dwelling place. It is the spiritual home of God‘s people. It represents the community spiritually bound together by their faith. All sacred places have to be respected. In this era wherein the people are losing the sense of the sacred, Jesus‘ acts in the temple as well as the feast of the dedication of the Mother Church of all Churches to restore back the sense of the sacred and not to turn it into a marketplace.