03/04/2018, 13.30
VATICAN

Pope: it is very bad when the Church makes a marketplace of God's house

Christ's driving the merchants from the temple warns against the temptation to take advantage of good activities for private, and even illicit interests and helps us "to reject the danger of making of our soul, which is the abode of God, a market place, living in the continuous search for our own interests instead of generous and supportive love".

 

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is very bad when the Church slips into this attitude, when it makes a marketplace of God's house", when it falls into the common temptation to "take advantage of good, sometimes dutiful activities, to cultivate private interests, at times even illicit ". 

Pope Francis warned against this "danger" today, inspired by the evangelical episode of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple. A gesture that helps us "to reject the danger of making our soul, which is the God's dwelling place, a market place, living in the continuous search for our own interests rather than in generous and supportive love".

In fact, to the people present in Saint Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, Francis spoke of today's Gospel that shows Jesus "driving the merchants from the temple of Jerusalem (cf. Jn 2: 13-25). He carried out this gesture also using a lash of cords, overturned the benches and said: "Stop making my Father's house a market place!" (V. 16). This decisive action, carried out near Easter, aroused great impression in the crowd and the hostility of religious authorities and those who felt threatened in their economic interests. But how should we interpret it? Certainly it was not a violent action, so much so that it did not provoke the intervention of the guardians of public order. It was understood as an action typical of the prophets, who often denounced abuse and excess in the name of God. The question that was posed was that of authority. In fact, the Jews asked Jesus: "What sign do you show us to do these things?" (V. 18), as if to request the demonstration that He really acted in the name of God ".

"To interpret Jesus' act of purification of  the house of God, his disciples used a biblical text from Psalm 69:" Zeal for your house will devour me "(v. 17). This psalm is an invocation of help in a situation of extreme danger due to the hatred of enemies: the situation that Jesus will experience in his passion. The zeal for the Father and his home will bring him to the Cross: his is the zeal of love that leads to self-sacrifice, not the false one that presumes to serve God through violence. In fact, the 'sign' that Jesus will give as proof of his authority will be precisely his death and resurrection: "Destroy this temple - he says - and in three days I will raise it up" (v. 19). And the evangelist notes: "He spoke of the temple of his body" (v. 21). With the Easter of Jesus begins a new cult, the cult of love, and a new temple that is Himself".

"The attitude of Jesus told in today's Gospel passage urges us to live our lives not in the search for our own advantages and interests, but for the glory of God who is love. We are called to keep in mind those strong words of Jesus "Do not make a market place of my Father's house" (v. 16). It is very bad when the Church slips into this attitude, when it makes a marketplace of God's house. These words help us to reject the danger of making our soul, which is the God's dwelling place, a market place, living in the continuous search for our own interests rather than in generous and supportive love. This teaching of Jesus is always relevant, not only for ecclesial communities, but also for individuals, for civil communities and for societies. In fact, it is common to tempt people to take advantage of good, sometimes necessary, activities 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 the service to man, His image. So Jesus used the 'strong ways' of that time, to wake us up tothis deadly danger ".

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