A DEN OF THIEVES
Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Scriptural Readings: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59; 1 Chronicles 29:10bcd, 11abc, 11d-12a, 12bcd; Luke 19:45-48
My dear encountered couples:
Was Jesus being unfair to the traders in the temple? What was going on there was for the purpose of paying temple expenses and providing a living for the priests and their families. What was wrong with that? Why did Jesus explode with fury and attack them?
It was not the money needed for temple expenses that Jesus was against. After all, tithing money and possessions was even contained in the law of Moses, presumably ordered by God Himself. What upset Jesus was the abuse of the means of obtaining money for the temple expenses. They had become dishonest and excessive. And in the hearts of far too many of those in charge of finances, money had become more important than the worship of the God whose temple it was. The lure of money has a way of doing that, which several publicized, television evangelists have plainly shown.
How much importance should be placed upon money needed for running a parish? How much money is enough and how much is too much? What are legitimate expenses and what are excessive desires? Is the love and worship of God central to the pastor, his associates, and the parish council members? Or has money and the budget taken center stage? It’s a problem, a big problem for all involved.
Jesus by his surprising tirade upon the money changers and sellers of animals for sacrifice tries to wake us all up to examine what it is we are doing, and why we are doing it. He wants us to look and see if we are doing God’s will or merely our own.
“Jesus entered the temple and began ejecting the traders saying: Scripture has it, ‘My house is meant for a house of prayer’ but you have made it ‘a den of thieves.”