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Luke 19: 45-48 – Week 33 Ordinary Time, Friday (Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

All four Gospels recount Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple – cf. Matthew 21: 12-16, Mark 11: 15-18, and John 2: 13-16, John placing the episode at the start of Christ’s ministry. The animosity of the Temple authorities is also recorded, arising both because of the driving out of the tradesmen and the money changers, and also because of Christ’s teachings generally.

We hear now that the chief priests and the scribes wish to destroy Jesus. The crucifixion approaches nearer in these verses. In the Synoptic Gospels, these are Jesus’ last days. What follows are final teachings, especially, in the Temple, the eschatological discourse, in which Jesus warns his listeners to be faithful and alert – to the great tribulation to come and the second coming.

John’s Gospel especially clarifies the imminent presence of the cross in the cleansing of the Temple, together with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple to come, in AD 70:

16 And [he] said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
18 ¶ Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2: 16-22)

One thing that emerges here is how understanding of Christ’s meaning develops and matures with time and through recollection. The people have flocked to hear Jesus’ teaching, and in Jerusalem he has a very attentive audience – of ‘all’ the people. Jesus continues, however, to speak in a veiled way, his parables deliberately concealing a part of his meaning, relating to his own divinity, to his accomplishing the inauguration of the Kingdom of God, and the great self-sacrifice to expiate our sins he is called to make.

It is as the disciples reflect and work through their experience of Jesus that the mystery unfolds itself. This is a part of what it is for them and for us to live with Jesus. Our relationship with and knowledge of Jesus becomes a lived reality, rather that, say, a theoretical construct, a list of dos and don’ts to be learnt by rote. Our love of Jesus, our Christianity, grows within and reveals itself naturally. In the mystery, the seed is sown.

THUS saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
3 ¶ Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (Isaiah 56: 1-7)

Audio Bible KJV | Endnotes

My Body Is A Temple

‘My body is a temple.’ The phrase emphasizes importance of taking care of one’s physical body. Origins of the phrase are traced to the Bible, specifically to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: ‘What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’

Our bodies are not our own but belong to God, and as such, we should take care of them and treat them with respect. The idea of the body as a temple is further reinforced in the Gospel of Luke, specifically in Luke 19:45-48, where Jesus enters the temple and drives out the money changers and merchants who have turned it into a marketplace. In this Gospel passage, Jesus says: ‘My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.’

This Gospel passage emphasizes the importance of respecting the sacredness of the Temple, which is intended to be a holy place of worship. In the same way, our bodies are also sacred. That our body is a temple goes beyond just physical care. Also included is the idea of spiritual care since the body is not only the vessel for our physical existence but also for our spiritual existence. This means that we should not only take care of our physical health but also our spiritual health, such as through prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices.

Christians have considered the importance of taking care of one’s body. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica that ‘the use of food is necessary for human life, and is therefore lawful and commendable, provided it be taken in due manner and order, within the bounds of moderation’. Similarly, John Calvin, a Protestant of the 16th century, emphasized the importance of taking care of one’s body in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, stating that ‘we are bound to take care of our body, that we may be fit and ready for the duties of our calling’.

The concept of the body as a temple implies that we should be mindful of what we put into our bodies, both physically and spiritually. For example, just as we should be careful about what we eat and drink, we should also be careful about what we consume through media, social interactions, and other aspects of our lives that can impact our spiritual well-being.

In addition, the idea of the body as a temple also has implications for how we treat others. If we believe that our own bodies are sacred and should be treated with respect, then we should also believe that the bodies of others are sacred and should be treated with the same respect. This means treating others with kindness, compassion, and empathy, and avoiding actions that harm others physically or spiritually.