Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
As we approach the end of the liturgical year the lectionary is approaching the end of the world. The readings of late are full of “end times” language and images and rightly so: the King is coming. In two weeks we will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, with the First Sunday of Advent a week later.
A crucial aspect of the Christian life is vigilance, of constant readiness not for the end of the world but for the return of the King in His full and awesome glory. While this may—and should—capture the imagination of our faith we must not lose sight of what is right in front of us: for most of us need only wait a week for our King to come to us in the Mass.
Leaving conversation about the Second and Final coming of Christ to upcoming Magis writers, let us look at this week’s readings with a magnifying lens rather than a telescope and see how we might better prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
Today’s Gospel is well-known and is perhaps one of the more startling portrayals of Jesus that come to mind. We see Him in a rage, driving out all who had set up shop within the Temple area to turn a profit rather than to worship God. What happened to Jesus “meek and mild?” Here Jesus is consumed with zeal for the house of the Lord; are we not also temples of God? Consider that for a moment, the reality which we so often forget: by virtue of our baptism, made all the more tangible when we receive the Eucharist, we become a living tabernacle of God, His dwelling. The passion with which Jesus strove to purify the Temple of stone pales in comparison to the passion He has for purifying our persons: He did not go to Calvary to save the Temple of Jerusalem.
Confession is the means by which Jesus, consumed with zeal for our souls, enters into His beloved temple and drives out all the “moneychangers”, the sins that have set up shop and convince us to try, by our own efforts, to purchase what we believe will satisfy us in this life. Those merchants of old sold items that were to be used for sacrifice; here Jesus throws our own sins on the fire of His love, if we but hand them over.
As Christ the King and the end of the liturgical year approach, let us prepare ourselves each day to receive Him; let us make Confession a greater part of our lives so that when Jesus comes in the Eucharist to the temple of our being He finds the doors open, the floor swept clean, and our hearts warm and ready to embrace Him.