Gospel reading: Mk 11:11-26
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. … Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’? But you have made it a den of thieves.”
Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”
A house of prayer for all peoples
The Temple of Jerusalem is the only place recognized by the Jews as house of worship some 600 years before Christ.
People come here to celebrate important feasts like the Passover. The local sanctuaries were abolished so that all the Jews would go to Jerusalem.
Only the local coin, shekel, is used in the Temple. Pagan coins bearing inscriptions and images of gods or kings are not allowed for the offerings. The pilgrims from afar need to change their foreign currency. Some vendors sell animals for the temple sacrifice. Pilgrims find it more practical to buy doves and the like in the vicinity of the Temple than to bring these all the way.
As Jesus enters the temple area, he is displeased by the many commercial activities going on. He drives away those involved in buy and sell. He overturns the tables of the money changers. In righteous indignation, Jesus demolishes their makeshift structures and quotes the prophets as the reason for his act.
Let us be careful with our churches or church organizations because they can easily turn into business enterprises instead of houses of prayer.
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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.