“Zeal for your house will devour me.”

What do these words mean to you? What emotions do you experience when you hear these words? These words take me back to a time when we were celebrating the golden wedding anniversary of one of our parishioners, some years back. Before the Eucharistic Celebration began, the church hall was packed with guests and relatives, who were merrily chatting away, and were excited about the pending wedding anniversary Mass. Suddenly, a loud voice rang out, “Please keep silent in the Church. If you wish to talk, please do so outside.” These words were from a visibly agitated parish priest.

Jesus too, displayed righteous anger when He drove the money-changers, peddlers and merchants out of the Temple. Upon reflection, what made Jesus angry was probably because the Temple authorities had allowed the gods of greed, corruption and cheating to take place in the sacred Temple. This clearly was against the very first Mosaic law ‘You shall have no gods except me.’ (Exodus 20:3)

What then, is righteous anger? Is it justified? The Jews demanded a sign from Jesus to justify His actions. Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Here, Jesus is predicting His passion, death and resurrection by referring to His Body as this sanctuary, the Holy Temple of God.

Often, we commit sin and try to rationalise and justify our actions by blindly following the wisdom of this world to deceive and console ourselves, much like the Jews who seek signs and Greeks who seek wisdom as mentioned in the second reading. However, as we are those who have been called, by virtue of our baptism, we should seek Christ, who is the power and wisdom of God. To take heed of the sign that Jesus gave by considering these words from St. Paul, “Do you not understand that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, lives in you? (1 Cor 3:16). We must drive away the sins of greed, pride and vanity from our hearts, as our body is the Temple of God, which the Holy Spirit reside.

During Lent we reflect on the meaning of this sign for us and for our community. We should consider how to improve the quality of our prayer and worship. In our prayers we seek to deepen our relationship with the person of Christ. In our worship with the community, we gather to experience anew the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus and its significance in our lives. We recall that Christ promises to be present with us whenever and wherever we gather to pray.


Oswald, Valerie, Helen Yzelman & Henry Seah