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Friends, at the heart of today’s Gospel is the cleansing of the temple. Jesus entered the great temple in Jerusalem—which for a Jew of that time was everything—and began to “drive out those selling and buying there.” Precisely because the temple was supposed to be so holy, Jesus was flabbergasted at what had happened to it and how the trading of merchants had come to dominate.

From the earliest days, Christian writers and spiritual teachers saw the temple as symbolic of the human person. In fact, didn’t St. Paul himself refer to the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit? Your very self is meant to be a temple where God’s Spirit dwells and where prayer, communion with God, is central.

But what happens to us sinners? The money changers and the merchants enter in. What is supposed to be a place of prayer becomes a den of thieves. And so the Lord must do in us now what he did in the temple then: a little housecleaning. What shape is the temple of your soul in? Suppose that Jesus has made a whip of cords, knotted with the Ten Commandments. What would he clear out of you?