If we look closely at our homes, we will see that the pagan world has inserted many of its gods into our lives. The “god” that is worshiped there may be the computer or the television or the mobile phone or ipad. The “god” is our home is where and how we spend much of our time. One name of this god is “distraction.” And how easily we can be distracted!
We also have a more subtle tendency to turn our prayer room or prayer corner or our parish church into a place of personal advantage. This is what happened in the temple. The people selling animals and things needed by others for their sacrificial offerings probably felt they were doing the right thing. Jesus saw it as self-gratification. It is symbolic of what we do to ourselves when we twist our worship, the practice of our faith, into self-serving projects.
How does the temple of our hearts turn from a place of worship into a den of thieves? One example could be when we sit down to pray and get distracted by something we want to read, or by checking our e-mail, or by doing something we want/need to get done and will “only take a minute.” Also, we can easily use our religious practices to try to impress others or to try to establish our superiority over others. We can even make our hearts a place of bargaining with God: I am giving you this half hour, now you do your part, God, and give me …
We need to be constantly aware of attempts to defile our hearts and our homes. This requires a constant purification of the temples of our hearts and our homes. God wants to build us up to be a place of worship, a place where he will be happy to dwell forever.
Scripture Readings: 1 Maccabees 4:36-27, 52-59. Matthew 21:12-13
1. What is the condition of your heart? Of your home? Who is the god who reigns there?
2. If Jesus walked through your home today, how do you think he would react?
3. What practical and doable things can you do to make the temples of your heart and your home more acceptable to God?