Daily Gospel Reflection: Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Bishop Robert Barron
November 9, 2023
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Gospel: Jn 2:13-22
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, "Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in our Gospel, Jesus performs the dramatic gesture of cleansing the temple. His prophetic vocation will manifest itself in all of his speech, gestures, and actions. Jesus’ confrontation with fallen powers and dysfunctional traditions will be highly focused, intense, and disruptive.
Standing at the heart of the holy city of Jerusalem, the temple was the political, economic, cultural, and religious center of the nation. Turning over the tables of the money-changers, driving out the merchants, shouting in high dudgeon, and upsetting the order of that place was striking at the most sacred institution of the culture, the unassailable embodiment of the tradition.
It was to show oneself as a critic in the most radical and surprising sense possible. That this act of Jesus the warrior flowed from the depth of his prophetic identity is witnessed to by the author of John’s Gospel: “His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” Many of the historical critics of the New Testament hold that this event—shocking, unprecedented, perverse—is what finally persuaded the leaders that Jesus merited execution.