ENTER MY HEART (John 2:13-25): 15 March 2009 (Third Sunday of Lent)
Is my heart a temple or a marketplace?
This morning I read about the Cleansing of the Temple, and I can’t help but feel disturbed. Did you really have to get that upset about what you saw in the temple? It’s a little bit frightening to see you like this–driving out people, whip in hand. This expression of anger is a far cry from your usual gentle and patient self, an image we all prefer for obvious reasons.
I think that today’s gospel passage invites me to examine my own heart, to ask myself whether my heart still remains the temple that you have always intended it to be, or whether it has, for whatever reason, deteriorated into a marketplace.
Even without trying too hard, I suspect–no, I know–that my heart unfortunately resembles the cluttered and noisy marketplace that you walked into in today’s gospel much more than a true house of prayer. These past days I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, performing tasks, meeting deadlines, rushing from one appointment to another… My days have been too cluttered and noisy. It feels like there’s this chaotic mob of vendors and money changers milling inside my heart, elbowing one another for room and competing for my attention.
Lord, should you, by any chance, walk into my heart today, I think I would dread the look on your face. I wonder: Would you also reach for a cord and make a whip of it? Would you also overturn my tables and spill their coins? Would you drive us all away–all the different roles I play in my life and work–and throw out all the paraphernalia that accompany them?
Dearest Lord, beneath all the clutter and the noise in my heart, I know: That’s exactly what I need. So here I am. Here is my heart! This moment in prayer, I fling its gates wide open to let you in! Wait no more! Enter my heart–and more than that, come charging in! Drive out the vendors and money-changers in me! Toss out all my wares and merchandise! Scatter the stacks of loose change I’ve been counting so painstakingly! Overturn every table, and rearrange every piece of furniture you find in my life!
That’s exactly what I need, Lord! And right here, right now, it’s also exactly what Iwant. For I know that’s what it’ll cost for my heart to be cleansed and un-cluttered again. It’s what I must do for your temple to rise within me again. And it’s what it’ll take for you to enter my heart and to stay there always again, with me.
If you feel up to it, why not share a Quick Prayer? Your prayer might lead others to theirs.
(image: Bernardino Mei’s “Christ Cleansing the Temple”)