Commentary for today: Sunday, March 3, 2024
Jesus drove the sheep, the oxen out of the temple and then he overturned the tables of the money changers. What did Jesus mean by his gesture? He simply said that God did not want animal sacrifices, nor any sacrifice because God’s favours cannot be bought. We cannot give anything to God, because his gifts are completely free. To offer something to God to obtain his blessings is a buying and selling or bribing God!
He gives his love freely and when we welcome it, we are happy. We have nothing to give to God. Jesus never spoke of sacrifices to be offered to God. When he spoke of it he said 'I want works of mercy, not sacrifices.' Our liturgies, our songs, our good deeds are a manifestation of our joy of being with Him, of our gratitude for the love He showed towards us, but they give nothing to God.
Jesus has cast out the sellers and the buyers because they are relating with God as if they are on a business deal. At the 8 gates of the temple esplanade, the Levites– the sacristans of those days – conducted a screening of the people to ensure that the blind, the lame, the deformed, the hunchbacked, the paralytics, the lepers and the sinners were prevented from entering the temple. Because they had nothing to offer to God except their own misery, weakness, and their own frailty.
Jesus challenged the Priests and religious authorities, that the current sanctuary is obsolete but Jesus would raise a new one in three days. The Sanctuary was the central part of the building where the Israelites believed that the Lord was; whoever wanted to meet God should go to this sanctuary. But today, the function of the ancient sanctuary is finished. Dismantle this temple, do away with it. Why? Because Jesus is now the sanctuary where God manifests himself. God shows his face is not in a material temple, but in his person. It is in Jesus where we see the face of God. Paul tells us “You forget that the Spirit of God dwells in you, that the same divine life circulates in you, that you are the sanctuary of God, in the risen Christ.