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Merchants at the Temple

By jmogol

on Fri Nov 22 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019
33rd Week in
Ordinary Time
St. Cecilia
First Reading:
1Mac 4: 36-37, 52-59
Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 45-48
Jesus entered the Temple area and began to drive out the merchants. And he said to them, “God says in the Scriptures: My house shall be a house of prayer: but you have turned it into a den of robbers.”
Jesus was teaching every day in the Temple. The chief priests and teachers of the Law wanted to kill him and the elders of the Jews as well, but they were unable to do anything, for all the people were listening to him and hanging on his words.
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(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
All four evangelists write about the cleansing of the Temple. John (2:14-17) places it at the beginning of Jesus’ public career while Matthew (21:12f.), Mark (11:15-17), and Luke (19:45f) at the end in order to relate the incident to Jesus’ statement that he will rebuild the Temple in three days if destroyed.
When Jesus said, “destroy this Temple and in three days I will rebuild it”, he was referring to his body, and not to the cold walls of the Temple. But his statement was prophetic because the Church now stands as the new Temple where God takes delight in our worship. We are that Church, and like the Temple we are also burdened by many “m.e.r.c.h.a.n.t.s.”: Mundane preoccupations, Eccentric value system, Relativist outlook, Carnal tendencies, Hysterical self-centeredness, Avarice, New-age mentality, and Truant religiosity – these are “merchants” that trigger Jesus’ holy anger. (The list is not exhaustive. These are chosen because they form the acronym “merchant”).

The mother of these “merchants” is relativism fanned by eccentric value systems. Relativism is inimical to Christianity because it justifies carnal indulgence and fuels hysterical self-centeredness and avarice. The net effect is truant religiosity characteristic of a new-age mentality. New age mentality gets rid of God because it worships “the God within”. If it matures into a form of spirituality it draws people farther away from the Church since it does away with doctrine, devotion and religious discipline.
Relativism drives God away from the Church faster than Jesus could drive away these “merchants”. Because everything becomes relative, the human person reigns as the measure of all things, replacing the moral system God has established in nature. Self-centeredness soars high into the unlimited skies of human avarice like the seed of the classic story of Jack and the beanstalk.
Before relativism drives God away from his own Church, let us allow Jesus to drive away these “merchants” from our midst. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., J.D., D.M.