Holy Monday, Cleansing the Temple, and Cleansing Our Hearts

Traditionally, on the day following his Triumphal Entry and the praise of Hosanna, Christ found himself in the Holy Temple.  Dedicated as the House of the Lord, it was, in truth, His  house. It was here that the Jews taught the Law, sacrificing and blessing, intending to keep the Children of Israel faithful in preparation to receive the Higher Law.

Sadly, the Jews had defiled the Holy House, filling the courtyard with animal sellers and sacrificial animals, which noisily brayed and squawked as the sellers shouted their prices and bartered with the nearest worshippers. Because the temple was attended from many lands, money changers filled the courtyard, exchanging money’s of foreign lands for the coin of the Jews, all for a nominal price, of course. Surely, the courtyard had become a buzzing center of both trade and corruption. 

Here, as He prepared for the upcoming ultimate sacrifice, the Lord entered His house, no doubt seeking solace and peace, but found again the tumult of the corrupt. For the second time during His public ministry, he overthrew the tables of the money changers, drove out the animal sellers, and forbade the laborers from using the temple as a shortcut while carrying their burdens. “It is written,” he said, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The Lord taught us the importance of keeping the Temple clean and free of the cares of the world, free of sinful corruption, and free of worldly labor. But further, he taught us to keep ourselves clean.

As we prepare this week to celebrate the triumph over death, let us cleanse oyrselves of the sins and burdens that keep us from being holy vessels for the Spirit of the Lord. Let us be worthy of being called His, that He may dwell in us and find peace. Let us repent that He may be able to do His work in our hearts.

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