Mission Society of the Philippines



Jn 2:13-25

IT IS A FACT that, as part of our Christian belief, there are persons, places, and days which we consider as holy. Because these are deemed as holy, then, they deserve respect on our part. If we fail to do this, we can be charged of sins such as blasphemy and sacrilege.

Today’s gospel reminds us of our duty to give importance to make holy the places considered as holy. Jesus cleansed the Temple by making a whip out of cords and driving all the traders out of the temple area. On the one hand, the action of Jesus shows his anger toward those people who profaned the house of God. His anger is also a show of passion for justice because the vendors offered exorbitant prices for their stuff. On the other, Jesus’ anger shows his great reverence for the house of God. He shows that the reverence must not be compromised. That reverence or respect must be maintained.

What does this say to us?

First, the theme of justice comes to the fore. Jesus was angry with the traders because of the injustice they do to the house of God. They transformed the Temple into a noisy market-place in which they can make money. It is no longer a solemn house of prayer. We can also find similar or comparable scenes nowadays. It is understandable that since a good number of people go to Church on Sundays, the vendors take this opportunity for money-making. This happens now in some Churches in Manila and in other big cities. Before, vendors only sell candles. But now we can see Filipino home-made foods, as well as fruits and vegetables being sold. These scenes must be continuously reflected or discerned by the parish priests and the parish pastoral council. They should think whether the selling affect the prayerful mood and maintain the sacredness of the place.

Second, our world has now become a “secularized world,” and there is tendency of divesting the church buildings of its sacredness. Before, Filipino Catholics make a sign of the cross whenever the pass a particular Church. But we seldom see that now. Before, people do the genuflection as soon as they enter church. But the new generation does do that now. For us Catholics, we have considered the Church as an important place for prayer. But now, the Sunday worship for some has become a simple outing where friends can meet. Before, people wear “proper” dresses when they go to Church. But now some were ‘indecent” ones. However, it is good to know that some Churches made some interventions with regard to this matter. In some Churches, there are signs which show the proper wears during the mass. These are all products of a secularized world. It is a fact that secularism has indeed crept into the Church’s life and in the life of the believers. And like Jesus, we must be angry at this. Like Him, we must be passionate in combating the evil of secularization in the Church.

Third, the gospel suggests certain seriousness in attending Sunday worship. I remember a classmate at a Catholic University in the country who never went to mass regularly. Her reason was that there is nothing new in the mass. It’s all repetitions, she said. Thus, according to her, she is not obliged to go to mass often because masses or holy Eucharistic celebrations are all the same. For her, going to Church once a month is more than enough. And I think this is the problem of the majority of the young of today. Sunday celebration has become an “empty ritual.” They do not find the celebration as something meaningful and something that enriches their spiritual life. Sunday liturgy is seen as repetitive and boring ritual. This scene needs a pastoral response on the part of the Church leaders. The Holy Eucharist, which is the summit of our spiritual life, must be explained theologically so that the young would find the newness and meaning of this celebration in one’s life. Once a person finds the meaning and the significance of the celebration, it would cease as an empty ritual.

In this season of Lent, we are called to pray, to fast, and to give alms. In our prayer, we go to a place which is considered as something holy. May the Church remain a favorite place for us for genuine prayer, a place where we can truly communicate and commune ourselves with God.


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