November 21, 2020

It is written, “My house shall be a house of prayer…”

Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple may well have helped bring about his suffering and death. Jesus justifies his doing so by saying that the Temple was to be a house of prayer. The prophecy of Malachi is also fulfilled with Jesus’ entrance at this time. Malachi says, “and suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to his Temple…” (3:1). It is hard for us to realize how important the Temple was to the Jews. This was the only place where God manifested his presence and where sacrifice could be offered to God. When the Temple was eventually destroyed, the priesthood ended with it.

Today we take it for granted that we can worship God in churches throughout the world. We can still apply the words of Jesus to each of these. They are to be houses of prayer. They are places where God’s people can gather to sing God’s praises. There they can listen to his word and be fed with the body and blood of Christ. They are places where Jesus can make his home, where we can access him in prayer.

We expect Jesus to come to our churches, don’t we? We want him in our midst. We invite him to make himself known among us every Sunday. As the gospel says, “all the people were hanging on his words.” We do as well. However, it’s a bit scary to think about what he will find when he shows up. In our gospel today, Jesus did not like what he found! What does he need to clean up in our churches, in our lives? Where are we going wrong? It’s easy to scold ourselves here, but it is also good to ask what we are doing right.

Let Us Pray:

O Lord, the law of your mouth, is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Help me to “gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.” (From today’s Responsorial Psalm)


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.