Zeal for your house will consume me. (Psalm 69:10)
As we read in St. John’s gospel, the Lord’s disciples thought of this psalm verse when Jesus cleansed the Temple. Took the worldliness out of it, the cynicism, the selfish dishonesty. The Lord gave back to the Temple the purity of its prayerfulness.
In Genesis we read about how our father Jacob dreamed of a ladder that stretched up to the realm of the angels. When he woke up, Jacob said, “The house of God is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16)
Thanks be to God, we have a lovely temple here (Rocky Mount, Va.), a building worthy of housing the celebration of Holy Mass. Ditto in Martinsville.
But, of course, the outward temple exists to serve the inward temple. The true temple is: the human person, made in the image and likeness of God. Consecrated in Christ as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
This is why we Christians understand crimes against the spiritual and bodily integrity of a human being—we understand the whole business in a special light. Pope John Paul II explained it all in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae.
God destines and guides every human being towards divine communion; He has made everyone a temple of His own glory. Whenever anyone attacks or abuses the spiritual and bodily integrity of a human being, we have to stand up. We lament it. We condemn it. We cry out for justice. And we pray.
It all begins at the moment of conception in the mother’s womb. We Catholics incorrigibly insist on the right to life. With the Supreme Court transition underway here in the US, our bishops have proposed that we pray for nine Fridays, starting today. Pray that our nation will respect the right to life.
And let’s pray, while we’re at it, that our Church will be the Church of Evangelium Vitae. The Church of the New Evangelization. A true, cleansed temple.