“His Temple”

His Temple

3rd Sunday of Lent

Written by Brittany Holberg, as part of a series of Lenten reflections, “The Mustard Seed”. Click HERE to view the full booklet of her writings.

"His Temple" 1

The sounds within were chaotic. Animals and people alike crying out. The distinctive sounds of coins being shuffled across the tops of tables only adding to what Jesus heard when He walked into the Temple. His father’s holy place had been turned into a marketplace. The very place God dwelled was now a den of thieves. Standing there, He looked around, and His heart was filled with anger at what had been done. It wasn’t the anger we so often feel in our lives, but righteous anger at what was being done to His father’s house and at the callousness of the hearts of those who claimed to be His people.

Without any warning at all Jesus began driving both people and animals out. He knocked over the tables that had been set up and scattered the money across the Temple floor as everyone who dared to stay and witness this watched in stunned silence. Only one area remained, and as Jesus approached it, the doves fluttered frantically within their cages. “Get these things out of here!” The Bible does not say for sure, but I imagine these words were shouted, shouted from the mouth of the One who had been sent to save the world. His anger was at the evil that had been allowed inside.

Today the temple of the Lord dwells within us. His very spirit lives and breathes within us. Like those people did then, I too once set up tables and turned my heart into a den of thieves, a place where I allowed myself to get lost in the exchanges so easily taking place. It did not start out big, but over time I was consumed with the same chaos Jesus encountered. The beauty in this story comes in His very actions that day. He refused to allow it to continue. I can remember lying on the cold cement floor of my prison cell one night and feeling the tables being turned over in my heart. I felt my Savior’s anger only it was not directed at me… it was for me. He loves me so much that He was consumed. The enemy had convinced me I had no value or worth, that there was no hope left. Living did not matter to me, not when I was so broken and lost inside. Just as I imagine the people were in the Temple that day, I was stunned at what I felt taking place within me.

Suddenly the chaos was gone, and I was left with silence. It was in the silence I began to hear Him speak to me. Not in words of anger, but love and mercy. He knew everything, but most of all He knew my heart and He had just destroyed all of the things I had allowed inside of it. As I looked around, I felt the shame of all I had done crashing down on me. I had made this mess, and now I needed to clean it up. His words, spoken into my heart, were soft and filled with love, “No my child, there is nothing there for you. Leave it and I will rebuild.” It had to be this way. Total destruction of what I had allowed inside so that he could rebuild his temple within me. Our Savior’s death symbolizes the destruction of all that separates us from him. His resurrection symbolizes the rebuilding of the temple he now dwells within. We are His Temple.

Brittany Holberg is an Oblate of the Sisters of the Morning Star. She is a resident on Texas Women’s Death Row.

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