Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Mar 01, 2012 | Comments (0)

Lent III John 2:13-22. The Cleansing of the Temple

Rational Thinking sees the temple to be physical.

Spiritual Understanding knows the Temple is spiritual.

When we think of things rationally with our head, the physical is real and the spiritual is symbolic. When we think of things spiritually with our heart, the spiritual is real and the rational becomes symbolic. The challenge is to realize, at certain times, the physical and the spiritual are both real.

In order to do this, we must look for the clue that links both the real physical and spiritual together.  As in any mystery there is the scene of the crime, the clue and the real thing it is pointing to.

The scene in this case is the Temple where the Presence of God dwells. It is Passover. Just to understand how powerful the Temple had become, think of the first Passover. It was then the lambs were taken from the family folds for the Passover.  Twelve hundred years later, the Temple was the only place you could get a lamb for the Passover.  To get it you could not take your Roman coins into the Temple. You had to change them into the shekels. Shekels were useless coins unless you wanted to buy an animal inside the Temple.  The cost for the coin exchange and an inside temple lamb was well above one you could get on the market outside. This enraged Jesus and He cleaned the temple of the money changes and those who sold doves. End of the story.

Rational Thinking must ask, what good did it do? It made the leaders so furious they decided to kill him. They were back at their tables within the hour selling and making their profits from the faithful.

Spiritual Understanding would see this both as a real and spiritual act. The words of Jesus were, "If you destroy this temple I will raise it in three days." They were shocked because it had taken seventy years to build this one.  How could he do it in three days?

Rational Thinking would see this as Jesus speaking of His body.  He would be raised in three days.

Spiritual Understanding would be that Jesus took the place of the temple not figuratively but physically. They both were real.

Within fifty years the Temple was destroyed. Conservative Jews today do not eat lamb at the Passover because there is no temple to purchase them from.

The reality is: Jesus through His death, Resurrection and Pentecost became the Temple, the place of the Presence of God.

Spiritual understanding knows: When we abide in His Presence, we are in the grace Temple of God.

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