Sunday March 7

Gospel of John 2:13–25

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

Only after the resurrection will the disciples understand what Jesus had spoken about with ‘the temple of his body’.

I find it helpful to reflect on this Gospel in the light of physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse of the body that is front and centre in the media in a sustained way in recent days. Jesus’ anger and sense of justice over the destruction of ‘his Father’s house’ is prophetic. Not only in the prophetic sense of the abuse and destruction of his own body that was to come in his passion and death. But if I truly believe that we are one with the Trinity, that is, Jesus is with me this very day and God dwells in me, a temple of the Spirit in the world – then this Gospel is also about how Jesus is angry about any abuse and destruction in a deeply personal way today. Turning tables and driving the abusers away is his response. 

I hear this anger and sense of loving justice in many prophetic voices today.

Mary Ward instructed her companions to ‘Seek the truth and do justice’. As her companions we are called to be prophetic too.

In my prayer I pray for the wisdom, courage and passion to turn tables and always protect the temple of our bodies, especially all who are most vulnerable.