November 9, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome 

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.

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):

            In the Gospel, Jesus is consumed with the zeal for the house of His Father.  “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  He was infuriated to see that the house of His Father which should be a house of worship and prayer was being dishonoured by turning it into a marketplace.  He drove away the vendors and money-changers to show them that His Father’s house should be made clean and be used with utmost respect.

            The Gospel is an invitation for me to reflect on how I respect my own body, which is considered as the temple of the Spirit.  According to CCC-364, “The human body shares in the dignity if the “image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit.”

            I must admit that there was a time in my life that I disrespected my body so much.  Before I entered the seminary, I used to smoke a lot never thinking of the hazard that it could bring my health.  Particularly during toxic hours in the office, I would puff my favourite brand of cigarette to ease my tension.  The cigarette was even better with a good coffee and a company with other smokers as well.  Smoking was an integral part of socializing with people back then.  Though I was always being reminded by the health impediment smoking could give me, those advises would always fall into deaf ears as I was so stubborn to listen.  Until such time that I felt that I was being called to a religious life.  It was September 3, 2011 when I visited the Holy Apostle Senior Seminary to inquire about the formation process.  I remember it was that morning when I puffed my last cigarette.  I told myself that if God was really calling me  to live a holy life, then I must let go of all the vices that I had which were hazardous to both my physical and spiritual health.  And so I decided to quit smoking cold turkey.  It was not easy at first but with the grace of God, it has already been two years since I last smoked.

            I would have not been able to successfully quit the bad habit of smoking had I only relied on my own will and determination.  With God’s help, I was able to cleanse the temple of the Holy Spirit within me.  Now I am smoke free.

            Without Jesus’ zeal for his Father’s house, he would have just let the merchants and money changers further vandalized and blasphemed the temple of God.  Jesus wants us to have that same level of fervour into our own body.  We must make it free of anything that makes it unworthy to be the temple of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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