Throughout the season of Lent, we’re featuring the Millennial Lenten Reflection Series, co-sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Franciscan Mission Service. Each small reflection will be written by a young person, focusing on that day’s Mass reading. You can sign up for the series here.
In today’s Gospel, I hear loud voices of men bartering in the temple intermingled with sheep ba-ing, oxen bellowing, and doves coo-ing. Sand and dust swirl around the temple.
I see Jesus entering, his countenance changed; is it astonishment, rage, pity? He overturns the exchangers’ tables that land with a loud thud; the coins tinkle mid-air before scattering on the floor. Moneychangers and animals alike rush out of the temple.
Jesus rebukes the men, “Stop making my Father’s house a market place.” Jesus says if this temple is destroyed he can raise it in three days. But the men do not comprehend Jesus’ words. How can that be when it has taken 47 years to construct?
This exchange reminds me of another misunderstood message from Jesus to the young St. Francis of Assisi. Praying in a dilapidated church, Francis hears Jesus command, “Francis, go rebuild my Church.” Francis takes this command literally and rebuilds the church. Francis comes to understand that Jesus is really asking him to rebuild his spiritual church, something that we are called to do each day.
During this Lenten season let us keep sacred our Father’s house by praying, fasting, and giving alms, and commit to continuing to build the Kingdom of God on earth.
Colleen Kerrisk is the Assistant Director for Ignatian Programs and Retreats at Georgetown University. She served two years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in L.A. and D.C.