Tending Your Temple

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Gospel: John 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
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.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.



I can’t be the only person who does this: I love driving around fancy or older neighborhoods and looking at the houses. I imagine how much they might have cost to build, how old they are, what they look like inside, who lives there now, who lived there in the beginning. I picture what my life might be like inside of a cool house like that. I look up the prices online. And at the end of the drive, of course, I always pick my favorite. There are certain neighborhoods that I love to frequent, but it’s even more fun to explore new areas when we are out of town. There is something about architecture that brings out so many questions and lends itself to my imagination.

Each reading today touches on the idea of architecture—specifically temples. (And, of course, this is quite appropriate as it is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.) Even back in the time of Jesus, people knew the importance of a good structure. It provides shelter in harsh weather. It is a gathering place for celebrations and mournings. It is the sweat and labor of hundreds of people. These havens are a marvel to be respected.

Much like a brick and mortar structure can be a sacred dwelling, our bodies are too. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” says the Second Reading. We are made in God’s image, we receive Him in the Eucharist, and we are His hands on earth. Because of this, He dwells within us. And we need to tend to our temple by keeping it clean and being careful of who we invite in. If anyone (including ourselves) tries to deface our temple, it should stir up strong emotions. It is the dwelling place of God, after all.

Everyone loves today’s Gospel. Jesus gets real; he’s flipping tables, raising his voice, whipping people and animals out the door. It’s righteous anger. He knows the temple is a place of great importance. It is okay for us to protect our temple with righteous anger too—meaning that sin should offend us greatly, but we are not allowed to respond with sin. Instead, we need to be fearless in our convictions and loving in our intentions. We must be firm in our beliefs while still demanding honor and virtue.

What is invading your temple lately? Is it sloth or gluttony? Is it pride? Is it abuse of some kind? Start taking steps forward to tend to your temple. God is in there.

Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children (and one in utero), and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she blogs and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here

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