Monday, November 09, 2009

Destroy this Temple

In today's Gospel the authorities demand a sign from Jesus in response to His overturning tables and brandishing a whip in the Temple. John uses the word "sign" instead of "miracle" in his Gospel. The authorities are demanding a miracle from Jesus to show that He has the authority to do this and that He is the Son of God since He said, "my Father's house."

Jesus promises a miracle but they will have to wait for it. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." They think that Jesus is speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem. To their understanding, He is talking about this massive place of worship that took decades to build. In reality, to completely destroy it in three days would be something of a miracle. However, it could be rebuilt, eventually, with time, and no miracle would be needed.

What Jesus speaks of is the True Temple, Himself. He, we now know, is speaking of His resurrection. This is a true sign, a true miracle because throughout history the temple of the human body has never been rebuilt once it has been destroyed. It would be easier to rebuild the Temple in 50 years than it would be to come back to life in 10 seconds after death. Jesus promises a miracle far greater than rebuilding a stone structure.

What is even more amazing is that He promises this very miracle to us. Saint Paul says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of the Lord?"(1 Cor 3:16) God now dwells within our very hearts and even though the temple of our body may be destroyed, He will rebuild it at the end of time. "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Rom 6:5) However, in order for us to look forward to the resurrection we must overturn the tables of sin in our hearts and drive out temptations with the whip of prayer.

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