WelCom March 2018:
Gospel, John 2:13-25
13 When the time of the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there. 15 Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over 16 and said to the dove sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop using my Father’s house as a market.’ 17 Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: I am eaten up with zeal for your house. 18 The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us that you should act like this?’ 19 Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20 The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?’ 21 But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, 22 and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said. 23 During his stay in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he did, 24 but Jesus knew all people and did not trust himself to them; 25 he never needed evidence about anyone; he could tell what someone had within.
‘Jesus is the new temple’
Passover is near – and so we are on a road trip through the major covenant moments in our family’s ancient faith story. Each involves a fresh knowing of ourselves as human persons and the faithful God who is with us and revealed in the mess, of our existence. Each covenant moment also demands that life is lived in a new way that articulates each new freedom. And there is the rub for us!
The Jewish community was distraught with the loss of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 ce. The Beloved Disciples’ radical knowing is that the temple is no longer required. The temple sacrifice is completely redundant! Jesus is the new temple, his self emptying in gift to the Father embodies the new covenant. And that which was broken and poured out in passion is embraced in love by God and transformed with resurrection.
So the perennial truths and questions remain for us to encounter in this Lenten journey towards the three great days culminating with celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection.
We are empowered children of God – Beloved and Chosen through Baptism, therefore…
What is it that we must overturn within ourselves? What are the things that must be taken out of our communities and wider society? This is a disturbing prophetic voice, whip cord in hand. This is the tough graft of Lent discerning of what must die, and also the doing of it; the seed that must fall and die. The joy of Gospel paradox is that only in this dying is there new life! It will be the sign and measure of our life in Christ our eternal temple.
Kate Bell is a Catechist at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Parish, Palmerston North.