HOMILY OF SUNDAY 7TH MARCH, 2021
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
R1:- Exodus 20:1-17
R2:- 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Accl:- John 3:16
Gosp:- John 2:13-25
*THEME: ROBBERY IN THE TEMPLE*
I do not stay at home. I travelled abroad to find greener pasture. All in the bid to survive. Back to base to offer sacrifice at the altar of my God, I fell into the hands of temple thieves; men who said I must buy animals for sacrifice at the temple. They claimed that I do not have the eyes for animals without blemish. They would ask me the double of the normal market price, since they have the monopoly of the market. They duped me of my earnings, all in their game of money changing. They said I must pay temple tax with their specified temple currency. I suffered thus, like many others who came from their different sojourn to offer sacrifice at the holy temple. This continued for many years until Jesus came and drove them out of the temple.
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple as recorded in our today’s gospel, is a warning to all who mismanage their power of monopoly. When we think that we are the only one who possesses what others do not have, we tend to cheat them or we are filled with arrogance.
The Jews in diaspora who came back home for passover were often exhorted by the temple oxen sellers and the money changers. Since they knew that they had no option than to buy their victims( animals) from the temple, they must surely pay whatever price they quote. More so, the temple coin cannot be compromised.
Unfortunately, this kind of practice is common today in our places of worship. The supposed religious leaders are fond of exhorting the poor people of God in God’s name. They appeal to the eternal principle of offering and sacrifice so as to enrich their pocket and not necessary for the smooth running of the kingdom of God among men. They glory in the size of their auditorium and how many private jets they acquired.
However, without the temple tax, the day to day running of the temple will be jeopardized. Hence, Jesus was not against the buying and selling. Neither was he against money changing. His anger was aimed at the dirty game that people play around it. We cannot stop performing our duty in the church and society because of one aberration or the other. We can only try to play the role of sanitizing our society by speaking the truth to power on matter that can adversely affect the smooth running of our day to day activities in the community.
On a serious note, Jesus is not teaching us how to revolt, but rather showing his passion for the things that affect or obstruct us from worshiping the Lord in truth and in the spirit. Like Jesus, the zeal for God’s house should consume us. We must not use the church as a chopping and shopping center. The church of God is a place of worship. It is a place of prayer.
May our roles in God’s house merit us blessings and not whips. May God’s anger not visit is based on the way we go about our work in his house, through Christ our Lord. Amen