Commercialization of Religion,
Third Sunday of Lent (B)

 


He did not have a place to live, in fact the Gospel tells us that Jesus did not even have a place to rest his head: "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to rest his head." Mt. 8:20.
He had a house, where Mary and Joseph used to live which He renounced so as to do what his Father sent him for.  Lk 2:49.   He invited his disciples to renounce theirs also. Mt. 19:29
On this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus comes to the Temple - which should be the house of God, a place to worship God, the center of spirituality, the center of love and justice, the door to heaven, the place where people should find God. This Temple was built with important stones, filled of gold and silver, a sacred place for a worshipping people, where people are not divided into classes and ranks, like many of our churches today.
He comes expecting God to be the center, instead He finds that it has been trashed and converted into a marketplace, bustling with commerce and worldly affairs. "He found in the Temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there" Jn 2:14. It is difficult to imagine Jesus, "the gentle and humble of the heart" (Mt. 11:29) angry and frustrated. "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." Jn 2:15-16 St. Augustine, (354-430) commenting on this Gospel said: "Our Lord's driving out of the Temple who were seeking their own ends, who came to the Temple to buy and sell (see here how the Temple changed its purpose, instead of a house of God, it became as Jesus will denounce, "but you are making it a den of thieves" (Mt. 21:13), is symbolic.
For if that Temple was a symbol it obviously follows that the body of Christ, the true Temple of which the other was an image, has within it some who are buyers and sellers, or in other words, people who are seeking their own interests and not those of Jesus Christ." God is still angry with many people who made from him an item to sell and buy.
He is frustrated with many people who write Him in their financial report as an expense and  use Him to bring money. You may be one of these!
You think of God as an object at the market place, in your church, your house or your heart.