Jesus acts in a way that is quite shocking in today’s gospel: he violently reacts to the vast system of money changers only doing what had become a necessity in the exchange of currency for animals to be sacrificed. Something about the whole scene became repugnant to him at that specific time and moment; certainly he had seen these money changers at work many times before in his coming to the Temple. The “cleansing of the Temple” became a symbolic action, a way for Jesus to indicate that the current Temple would soon be replaced by a NEW Temple, an edifice made of human beings, connected by the Spirit breathing life into this living structure. Christ is its Head.
WE are the temple and each one of us has a place in this “building.” But like the original Temple that Jesús cleansed, each one of us needs to be cleansed of that which weakens this magnificent human divine structure: our sinfulness. Tables of pride, greed, lust need to be “overturned.” The temple of our bodies must be a worthy dwelling place for Christ. But we push him away and out of our hearts by self absorption, the fuel of sin and alienation.
The “whip of cords” Jesus uses to help us to clean the Temple of the heart is the eight beatitudes. Living them is the antidote, the healing ointment of the Spirit, making our hearts new and beautiful.