Path of Reflection through Scripture
Third Week of Lent
Gospel for Sunday, March 11, 2012: John 2:13-25
Read it here
The American Heritage Dictionary defines zeal as "enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal, and tireless diligence in its furtherance.” It might also be said that zeal is simply love that stops at nothing.
As Jesus cleared the Jerusalem temple of those who sought profit from religion at the expense of the poor who sought only entrance into a true relationship with God, the disciples were reminded of Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house consumes me.” They recognized at some level (though still not fully understanding) that the zealous love of God stops at nothing in claiming God’s “house” for himself and his beloved people with whom he wishes to dwell. He wants to be alone with us, to have our undivided attention, and he is not polite in clearing the room to make this happen.
Within a generation after this episode, the Jerusalem temple was destroyed by Roman authorities while Jesus’ risen body had ascended to his Father’s house in heaven. After the Resurrection, the disciples recalled that during Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, he had said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Their understanding of Jesus’ purpose then came into fuller view, and that he was speaking of the “temple of his body.”
God’s zeal for his people strives to drive away all that prevents them from entering into a true relationship with him, so much so that he claims each person’s heart for himself. He destroys our “false temples” and raises instead the Body of Christ, of which we are all members as baptized Christians, to be with him in heaven. The “temple” of Jesus’ body also belongs to each one of us because he has invited us in. There, he desires to dwell within the inner room of our hearts, just as the Holy Spirit filled the Upper Room and descended on the apostles at Pentecost.
So, we must ask ourselves, especially during this season of preparation for the Paschal Mystery of Easter, do we share God’s zeal for his temple, which is our body within the Body of Christ? Have we allowed the “inner room” of our hearts to be claimed by Jesus? What is being “bought and sold” there that needs to be driven out so that God’s Spirit may dwell in you?
Today, it is good for us to recall that God’s zealous love for us stops at absolutely nothing. We have only to let it consume us.