Daily Reflections · Priest's Perspective

Daily Gospel Reflection 19 November 2021

Luke 19:45-48

45Then Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling there. 46He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be a house of prayer.’ But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

47Jesus was teaching at the temple every day, but the chief priests, scribes, and leaders of the people were intent on killing Him. 48Yet they could not find a way to do so, because all the people hung on His words.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

At the time of the Passover every Jew was required to make sacrifices. As they did not have the animals needed and often had Roman currency which had to be converted to acceptable money before being given as an offering, a vibrant trade had begun in exchanging money and selling lambs and doves for sacrifices. This had increasingly been done at a great profit to the exchanges. Some people couldn’t afford the sacrifices and so had to borrow money to purchase the required sacrifice, pushing them further into debt and poverty. It is also said that the animals sold were of inferior quality. The sacrificial system was being used for illicit gain and well-meaning people, who had made the effort to come to Jerusalem and fulfil their religious obligations, were being abused.  Whether this was the first time that the traders were inside the temple itself is a subject of scholarly debate, but it is clear, that on this third visit to the Temple for the Passover, Jesus stood up to the system of unjust gain by people abusing the religious culture of the people. It was the injustice and the perversion of God’s laws and customs that Jesus rebelled against and turned the tables on.

Our religion should never be used to subjugate or dominate other people. Our religion should never be used for personal gain. We are to pay our dues and we are not to muzzle the ox, 1 Tim 5:18 says that the worker is due his pay,  but the system is not to be abused.

We too must stand up to unjust structures on our society and turn the tables on corruption and mismanagement of the resources given to us. We are responsible for what God has given us and we are to defend the cause of the poor and the voiceless.  We are the temple (1 Cor 6:19); we cannot allow a perversion of our religion for ill gain. What tables need to be turned in our own lives today? – true religion is this:

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.. ( Micah 6:8)

May the Lord bless and keep you.

Be assured of my prayers. Fr Andrew

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