Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – Ez 47:1-2,8-9,12; 1 Cor 3:9-11,16-17; John 2:13-22

I pay and demand

And who is making a marketplace of the Church here?

Today is the anniversary of the consecration of the Mother of Churches, the Lateran Basilica. The Church stops reading the Letter to the Romans and the Gospel of Luke and gives us Ezekiel, the Letter to the Corinthians (the first) and the Gospel of John. In the last one, the scene is of expelling the moneychangers from the temple. . . .

Those priests were nasty – one might say – who allowed the temple to be turned into a market hall. Lambs, oxen, pigeons, and a currency exchange office. Even today, those priests who turn the Church into a marketplace, treating it mainly as means to profit – many would add, are nasty today. But – I wonder – were the priests alone to blame for what happened in the temple? Is it only the priests who are to blame for the fact that the Church is sometimes turned into a fairground?

A request? We have a right to have our child baptised – although we don’t believe, or at the least we avoid the Church. Why won’t the priest let me get confirmed? – although I don’t intend to participate in the preparations for this sacrament. Where do these strange arrangements regarding First Communion, weddings, funerals come from, why does the priest take money for celebrating Mass? – outraged believers sometimes say. Well precisely, as if I was entitled to everything: I’m there, sometimes I will make a small offering, and so I demand it. As if it was about providing religious services, as if they were owed it because I’ve given them a few pennies. And who is turning the Church into a marketplace?

Lord Jesus, You know what I come to the Sunday Eucharist with, what my thoughts are. Are my heart and mind a house of prayer or maybe a marketplace? I ask You to grant me the grace of always knowing Your graciousness, and that I am only worthy of Your gifts due to the sacrifice of Your beloved Son. Make me a temple of Your presence in this world. Amen.