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From: John 2:13-22

The Cleansing of the Temple

[13] The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
[14] In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons,
and the money-changers at their business. [15] And making a whip of cords, he
drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out
the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. [16] And he told
those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my
Father’s house a house of trade.” [17] His disciples remembered that it was writ-
ten, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” [18] The Jews then said to him, “What
signs have you to show us for doing this?” [19] Jesus answered them, “Destroy
this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [20] The Jews then said, “It has
taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
[21] But he spoke of the temple of his body. [22] When therefore he was raised
from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed
the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.


13. “The Passover of the Jews”: this is the most important religious feast for the
people of the Old Testament, the prefiguring of the Christian Easter (cf. note on
Mt 26:2). The Jewish Passover was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month
of Nisan and was followed by the festival week of the Azymes (unleavened bread).
According to the Law of Moses, on those days every male Israelite had to “appear
before the Lord God” (Ex 34:23; Deut 16:16) — hence the pious custom of making
a pilgrimage to the temple of Jerusalem for these days, hence the crowd and all
the vendors to supply the needs of the pilgrims; this trading gave rise to abuses.

“Jesus went up to Jerusalem”: by doing this Jesus publicly shows that he ob-
serves the Law of God. But, as we shall soon see, he goes to the temple as the
only-begotten Son who must ensure that all due decorum is observed in the
House of the Father: “And from thenceforth Jesus, the Anointed of God, always
begins by reforming abuses and purifying from sin; both when he visits his
Church, and when he visits the Christian soul” (Origen, “Hom. on St John”, 1).

14-15. Every Israelite had to offer as a passover sacrifice an ox or a sheep, if he
was wealthy; or two turtle-doves or two pigeons if he was not (Lev 5:7). In addi-
tion he had to pay a half shekel every year, if he was twenty or over. The half she-
kel, which was the equivalent of a day’s pay of a worker, was a special coin also
called temple money (cf. Ex 30:13); other coins in circulation (denarii, drachmas,
etc.) were considered impure because they bore the image of pagan rulers. Du-
ring the Passover, because of the extra crowd, the outer courtyard of the temple,
the court of the Gentiles, was full of traders, money changers etc., and inevitably
this meant noise, shouting, bellowing, manure etc. Prophets had already fulmina-
ted against these abuses, which grew up with the tacit permission of the temple
authorities, who made money by permitting trading. Cf. notes on Mt 21: 12-13
and Mk 11:15-18.

16-17. “Zeal for thy house will consume me” — a quotation from Psalm 69:10. Je-
sus has just made a most significant assertion: “You shall not make my Father’s
house a house of trade.” By calling God his Father and acting so energetically,
he is proclaiming he is the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus’ zeal for his Father’s
glory did not escape the attention of his disciples who realized that what he did
fulfilled the words of Psalm 69.

18-22. The temple of Jerusalem, which had replaced the previous sanctuary
which the Israelites carried around in the wilderness, was the place selected by
God during the Old Covenant to express his presence to the people in a special
way. But this was only an imperfect anticipation or prefiguring of the full expres-
sion of his presence among men — the Word of God became man. Jesus, in
whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9), is the full presence of
God here on earth and, therefore, the true temple of God. Jesus identifies the tem-
ple of Jerusalem with his own body, and by so doing refers to one of the most pro-
found truths about himself — the Incarnation. After the ascension of the Lord into
heaven this real and very special presence of God among men is continued in
the sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist.

Christ’s words and actions as he expels the traders from the temple clearly show
that he is the Messiah foretold by the prophets. That is why some Jews approach
him and ask him to give a sign of his power (cf. Mt 16:1; Mk 8:11; Lk 11:29). Je-
sus’ reply (v. 20), whose meaning remains obscure until his resurrection, the Je-
wish authorities try to turn into an attack on the temple — which merits the death
penalty (Mt 26:61; Mk 14:58; cf. Jer 26:4ff); later they will taunt him with it when
he is suffering on the cross (Mt 27:40; Mk 15:29) and later still in their case a-
gainst St Stephen before the Sanhedrin they will claim to have heard him repeat
it (Acts 6:14).

There was nothing derogatory in what Jesus said, contrary to what false witnes-
ses made out. The miracle he offers them, which he calls “the Sign of Jonah” (cf.
Mt 16:4), will be his own resurrection on the third day. Jesus is using a metaphor,
as if to say: Do you see this temple? Well, imagine if it were destroyed, would it
not be a great miracle to rebuild it in three days? That is what I will do for you as
a sign. For you will destroy my body, which is the true temple, and I will rise
again on the third day.

No one understood what he was saying. Jews and disciples alike thought he was
speaking about rebuilding the temple which Herod the Great had begun to con-
struct in 19-20 B.C. Later on the disciples grasped what he really meant.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 11/08/2012 8:32:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12 ©
The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Psalm Psalm 45:2-3,5-6,8-9 ©
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is for us a refuge and strength,
  a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
  though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
  the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
  God will help it at the dawning of the day.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, consider the works of the Lord,
  the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

Second reading 1 Corinthians 3:9-11,16-17 ©
We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building. By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ. Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.

Gospel Acclamation 2Ch7:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord,
for my name to be there forever.

Gospel John 2:13-22 ©
Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.

6 posted on 11/08/2012 8:39:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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