Apparently I’m not the only one who’s been doing some spring cleaning. This morning’s reading from the Divine Hours covers the cleansing of the temple by Jesus:
“So they reached Jerusalem and he went into the Temple and began driving out the men selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of the dove sellers. Nor would he allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he taught them and said, ‘Does not scripture say: My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have turned into a bandits’ den.’ This came to the ears of the chief priests and the scribes, and they tried to find some way of doing away with him; they were afraid of him because the people were carried away by his teaching. And when evening came he went out of the city.”
Religion is big business. It really is. The Israeli and Saudi economies certainly depend on pilgrims flooding into their lands. And where there are large crowds of people, they will need a place to stay, food to eat, and holy articles to use for their religious observances. Though the situation at the time of Christ seems to be a bit extreme with merchants in the temple courts, I’m sure there are some parallels.
I am curious about how connected religion and money truly are. If Jesus came to our churches today, would he need to clean anything out? What would he think of our bookstores in churches? He may not think anything of them. But what would enrage Jesus? What items in our churches distract us from prayer and worship?