Summary: Jesus cleanses the temple.
(Mt 21.12—17; Mk 11.15—19; Lk 19.45—48)
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
23 When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
Yesterday, I went to a funeral of one of my relatives in New Brunswick. She also was from Burma, but through marriage, she became my cousin-in-law. The poignant part of this funeral, unlike others is that she is the first of my generation to die. She is very rich, very successful as a first generation immigrant from Burma.
The minister revealed in his sermon at the funeral yesterday that her offering to the church was $5,000 a month. Imagine her income. Of course, minister was not crying about the lost, but revealing her faith and commitment that not many people can match.
Her husband cried aloud like a baby. Her mother cried of course. What’s worse than having to burying your own child?! But my thought was occupied by the fact that she is the first, at least one of the first that I am aware of, that died among my generations. It makes me realize that I am no longer young. It makes me sense the mortality of life in a near distance.
When we are young we want to grow. My daughters can’t wait until next birthday. "I will be six next year!" "I am eight years old now!" They are so proud of it. I guess my son look forward to the college age. Or at least the age that he can drive. But now, suddenly at my age, I want to hit the break. Too fast! Oh no, stop!
She was killed by cancer. Each time I heard of cancer, I remember my naive thoughts when I was back in Burma as a young man. When I saw people died of cancer, I thought it should be curable in developed countries like America. After I came to America, I found out that this super power of the world have no power against cancer. Still I thought they would find the cure soon. But, yesterday, I search the Internet about cancer and realize that the medical scientists still have no clue. One of the most popular article about cancer entitle "Cancer: Looking for Simplicity, Finding Complexity."
Cancer cells, or carcinogen, are from originally good cells that grow to fight the problematic cells in the body. It’s part of human immune system, or antibody. But the problem is it doesn’t know when to stop, after it destroy the bad cells it continue to grow and kill the good cells. It is at that point it becomes cancer.
We can see the same problem in the biology of the society. Some of the most destructive forces of the society as we know came out of good intention; for example, Communism. Now when people talks about communism, we mean a bad social system, but do you know that it started out as a good intention? It came out of a social justice movement against the unjust distribution of wealth and prosperity.
But, the problem is that it is unlike the Terminator in the movie that terminates itself when the job is done. Like the cancer cell, it just doesn’t know when to stop and began to destroy the good and healthy elements of the society. As a result the entire society suffers.
The same thing can happen to a church, a religion, or a temple. In today’s scripture reading, we’ve heard that Jesus came into the temple of Jerusalem and he saw a cancer in the temple. He was furious, the scripture says, "In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”