Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus astonishes the crowds by his teaching and at the same time infuriates the chief priests and the scribes when he cleanses the Temple—driving out the money changers and those who were buying and selling. In such a way, Jesus attempts to restore the Temple to a house of prayer.
The Temple, with all of its buying and selling, must have been like a noisy marketplace and a serious obstacle to prayer. Life, in general, has its moments and can get confusing or busy—when we have deadlines to meet or have just heard disappointing or bad news that disrupts our peace of mind. The many areas of our lives are tough to balance: work, physical health, relationships, finances, family, spiritual life. And, if approached on our own strength, these areas can tend to overwhelm us and we find ourselves incredibly distracted, especially when we call upon God in prayer.
When we come before God and feel burdened, we must be like Jesus, cleansing the Temple—driving out the anxieties that weigh us down and making our authority known. But, for us, it is the Temple of our hearts that we cleanse, properly restoring it to be a house of prayer. When we approach our Lord in prayer, we take all of the things that fill our mind—grievances, worries, doubt—and we do not forget about them or pretend they do not exist, but we offer them as intentions, prayers before God, having faith in God that He will hear us.
I think this is a helpful practice to permit us to be present to God and open that channel for communion and dialogue with Him. And, I am not just talking about doing this during the times when we enter the Church, but throughout the entire day, we must seize the small opportunities to lift our minds and hearts to God, believing that what we ask, we will receive. Whatever the case may be, we have to find a practice or method that works well for us. We want to build our house of prayer with a pure and simple faith, and with strong devotion—Have faith in God, Jesus instructs us—Have faith in God.
Reflection Question: What is the conversation God wants you to have with Him, but you have found yourself delaying or neglecting it?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB