VATICAN CITY – Like Jesus cast out the merchants from the temple in Jerusalem, we should drive the desire for personal gain and advantage from our hearts, replacing it with love, Pope Francis said Sunday.
“We are called to keep in mind those strong words of Jesus: ‘Do not make a market of my Father’s house.’”
“They help us to reject the danger of making our soul, which is the abode of God, a marketplace,” the pope said March 4, “living in continuous search of our personal profit, rather than in generous and supportive love.”
Speaking before the Angelus, Francis noted that “this teaching of Jesus is always relevant, not only for ecclesial communities, but also for individuals, for civil communities and for societies.”
Recounting the day’s Gospel reading from John, he said that it is a common temptation to want to take advantage of some good and necessary activity in order to cultivate “private, if not even illicit, interests.”
“It is a serious danger, especially when it exploits God himself and the worship due to him, or service to man, [who is made in God’s] image. So Jesus used ‘strong ways’ that time to shake us from this deadly danger,” he explained.
The pope also pointed out that when Jesus drove out the merchants and moneychangers from the temple, it wasn’t considered a violent act by those who witnessed it, but a typical action of prophets, who would often denounce abuses and excesses in the name of God.
That is why in the Gospel passage the Jews ask Jesus: “What sign do you show us to do these things?” They are asking what authority Jesus has to speak and act in the name of God.
The “sign” that Jesus will give as proof of his authority is his death and resurrection, the pope continued. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” and as the evangelist notes: “He spoke of the temple of his body.”
“The attitude of Jesus recounted in today’s Gospel passage urges us to live our lives not in search of our advantages and interests, but for the glory of God, who is love,” he said.
“May the Virgin Mary support us in our commitment to make Lent a good opportunity to recognize God as the one Lord of our life, removing every form of idolatry from our heart and our works.”