Jn 2: 13-25

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Cleansing of the Temple

Hmmm. At first glance we see Jesus’ anger at what should be holy and sacred being turned into a “marketplace”.  Is this a passage from a Gospel or a scene from a Steven Seagal movie?

It is always easier to see the stories in the Gospels and point outward. While what we see may be true, it is perhaps better at times to look at our own lives. In our own faith journeys, have we sold out, become so accustomed to a way of living our faith that to have a conversion of heart, Jesus needs to turn the tables on us?  Seems rather painful. Remember, we are in Lent preparing to celebrate The Saving Mystery of life. This is not a time to do a Marie Kondo on our hearts, but a radical reorientation if need be.

Jesus is The Word, The Word Made Flesh, The Temple. We are called to believe in Jesus not because of signs, but because of his word, the word he spoke and speaks today. John’s Gospel was “written that you (we) may believe.” Maybe to have this conversion we also need to think about the passage in John of the washing of the feet, read every Holy Thursday.  Jesus says to his disciples and us, “Do you know what I have done for you, I who am your Lord and master?” If we truly knew, then our hearts would be less of a marketplace and more of a temple or home for God. Dear Lord, cleanse and transform our hearts.

—Fr. Jim Caime, SJ, is the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kansas City, MO.



Fr. Jim Caime, SJ, invites you to pray with this video of composer Janèt Sullivan Whitaker, Psalm 51 Be Merciful, O Loving God, found here.

—The Jesuit Prayer team