The New Temple

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

March 3, 2024 – Third Sunday of Lent, John 2:13-25

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In the time of Jesus, the primary place where business transactions took place in Jerusalem was on the grounds of the great Temple, the most sacred place in the world for Jesus and his Jewish companions. In his humanness, Jesus sought out places where God’s presence was assumed, locales where people went to pray. Imagine his reaction, his disappointment, and even anger in learning that the grounds of God’s holiest of places was consumed with making money.

Religious life can be violated by those seeing to profit from its operation. We are not surprised when we learn that Jesus immediately proceeded to prevent this corruption of what was intended to bring people closer to God. While religious bodies certainly need financial resources, they do not serve God by simply making money.

I will not go into here how this same misuse of religion takes place today. People of every religious orientation have distanced themselves from formal religion based on what they judge as a failure of religious leadership to foster genuine religious activity. Leaders have often used their position for personal gain, rather than serving the sacred needs of those they were chosen to serve.


The gospel for today reminds us that the most sacred settings for connecting with God are not human structures built with brick and mortar, but in and through human interaction in human settings built with love. Jesus said that after his resurrection God’s sacred presence would be primarily located in him and in all those connected with him by service and concern for anyone among us in need.


The Catholic Church these days is intent on reminding its members of the presence of Jesus in the celebration of the Eucharist. The new temple is the body of Christ and in the transformation that takes place in the love and service we give to those of us in need. Recall words of the hymn where we sing that we will find God “where charity and love prevail.”


While we encounter God through Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist, we also find the Lords’ presence in our families, among our neighbors near and far, in the places where we work to make life more humane and beneficial for all and in the great world of God’s creation where life can be treasured and preserved. The new temple can be thought of as potentially anywhere and everywhere.

David M. Thomas, PhD     

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