Daily Gospel Reflection – Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
June 2, 2023
Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 11:11-26
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area. Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.”
The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, at the heart of today’s Gospel is the cleansing of the temple. Jesus entered the great temple in Jerusalem—which for a Jew of that time was everything—and began to “drive out those selling and buying there.” Precisely because the temple was supposed to be so holy, Jesus was flabbergasted at what had happened to it and how the trading of merchants had come to dominate.
From the earliest days, Christian writers and spiritual teachers saw the temple as symbolic of the human person. In fact, didn’t St. Paul himself refer to the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit? Your very self is meant to be a temple where God’s Spirit dwells and where prayer, communion with God, is central.
But what happens to us sinners? The money changers and the merchants enter in. What is supposed to be a place of prayer becomes a den of thieves. And so the Lord must do in us now what he did in the temple then: a little housecleaning. What shape is the temple of your soul in? Suppose that Jesus has made a whip of cords, knotted with the Ten Commandments. What would he clear out of you?