Lectio Divina: Luke 19:45-48
1) Opening prayer
Father of all that is good,
keep us faithful in serving You,
for to serve You is our lasting joy.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 19:45-48
Jesus went into the temple and began driving out those who were busy trading, saying to them, “According to scripture, my house shall be a house of prayer but you have turned it into a den of robbers.”
He taught in the temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, along with the leading citizens, tried to do away with Him, but they could not find a way to carry this out because the whole people hung on His words.
• Context. Luke, having described Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (11-19, 28), now presents carrying out His mission in the temple. (vv. 45-48).
• The gesture of Jesus. His action does not have political value but rather prophetic significance. The great purpose of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is to enter the temple. The prophecy of Malachi is fulfilled with Jesus’ entrance. Malachi says, “and suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to His Temple...” (3:1). Jesus’ gesture of driving out the sellers recalls Isaiah 56:7, which says, “My house will be a house of prayer”. Jesus returns the temple to the Father. The commercial and business activity has made the temple a den of robbers and has deprived it of its only function: to provide a dwelling for the presence of God. The second reference from scripture is taken from Jeremiah 7:11: “Do you look on this temple that bears my name as a den of robbers?” The image of a den of robbers serves Jesus to condemn the material traffic on the one side and the dishonest traffic of trade or business that was carried out in the temple. Jesus demands a complete change in order to purify the temple from all of these negative human things and to make it a place for authentic service to God. In driving out those merchants of trade and business, the prophecy of Zechariah is fulfilled: "There will be no more traders in the temple of Yahweh Sabaoth, when that day comes” (14:21). These words of Jesus regarding the temple are not directed at a restoration of the purity of the cult or worship, as was the intention of the Zealots. The intention of Jesus goes beyond the purity of the cult. It is more radical and timeless. The temple is not a work done by human efforts, and the presence of God is not bound to its material aspect. The authentic service of God is carried out by Jesus through His teaching. Because of this preaching, “the high priests and the scribes together with the leading citizens tried to do away with him” (v. 47). Within this temporary place of the temple, Jesus carries out a highly significant teaching. It is precisely because this place is so fundamental to the Jews that His teaching reaches its summit and it will be from here that the words of the Apostles will also begin (Acts 5:12, 20, 25, 42). The diffusion of the Word of grace which Jesus bears extends like an arch. It begins with His opposition when He was still only twelve years old in the temple among the doctors of the Law. It is continued with His teaching across Galilee and during His journey to Jerusalem, until it reaches a climax when He enters the temple and takes possession of the house of God. The basis for the future mission of the Church, the proclamation of the Word of God, begins in this place. The leaders of the people do not intend to suppress Jesus for having ruined the progress of the economic affairs of that time. Rather, the reasons go back to His previous teaching activities. These play a part in His discourse against the temple. Jesus claims something and this causes a reaction from the high priests and the scribes. In contrast with this hostile behavior, one can see a positive one from the people who “are hanging from His words”. Jesus is the Messiah who gathers around Him with His Word of grace the people of God.
4) Personal questions
• Does your prayer to the Lord consist in a simple relationship of father to son in which you find all that is needed to communicate with God, or is it accompanied by usage and practices to gain His goodness?
• When you listen to the Word of Jesus do you feel seized by His teaching like the crowds who hung from His words? Are you sufficiently attentive to listen to the Gospel and do you adhere to Christ?
5) Concluding Prayer
The Law You have uttered is more precious to me
than all the wealth in the world.
How pleasant Your promise to my palate,
sweeter than honey in my mouth! (Ps 119:72, 103)