Monday, March 17, 2008

Pope Benedict: Jesus & the Purification of the Temple

Yesterday, Pope Benedict gave a great homily in which he talked about Jesus' activity in the Temple. . . Here's an account of what he said (take that S. F. Brandon!):
The "purification of the temple", however, is more than a "fight against abuses": it signifies "a new chapter of history", in which Jesus offers Himself as the New Temple, the new place in which God is encountered.

"The purification of the temple", the pope explains, "as the culmination of the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, is the sign both of the impending ruin of the building and of the promise of the New Temple; the promise of the Kingdom of reconciliation and love that, in communion with Christ, is established beyond all boundaries".

"Immediately after Jesus' words about the house of prayer for all peoples, the evangelist [Matthew] continues in this way: 'The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them'. And furthermore, Matthew tells us that there were children repeating in the temple the acclamation that the pilgrims had made at His entrance into the city: 'Hosanna to the son of David' (Mt 21:14 ff). To the selling of animals and the business of the moneychangers Jesus opposes his own healing goodness. This is the true purification of the temple. He does not come as a destroyer, He does not come with the sword of the revolutionary. He comes with the gift of healing. He dedicates himself to those who because of their infirmity are driven to the extremes of their life and to the margin of society. Jesus shows God as He who loves, and His power as the power of love. And so He tells us what will always be part of the true worship of God: healing, service, the goodness that heals ".

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