Prayer and Sacred Places

Sacred places and churches have an aroma of prayer; it’s almost as if the prayers and holiness of countless faithful over generations are clinging to the walls and columns.

So, when Jesus arrived in his Father’s Temple in Jerusalem (on the first of his three Passover visits in St John’s Gospel) he brings an urgent prophetic vision of true worship in that sacred place.

Certain abuses had crept in; the Temple precincts were being abused. Jesus, with untypical vehemence, vigorously drives out the abusers, and closes down the malpractice of
business and trading at this shrine of prayer.

On a deeper level, he is symbolically replacing the Old Testament worship with it’s great Temple. The new dispensation of Christianity and Church is coming in; and Jesus himself is the new Temple. He would be attacked and killed, but would rise glorious in his Resurrection.

In Lent we learn from Christ the way of respect for prayer, for Mass, a renewed commitment to reverence for our churches, and for the presence of Jesus, really present in our tabernacles. We seek to be more purified, more easily available for God’s design in our daily lives.

We look at the First Reading, and ask God to help us in love to keep the commandments. The Second Reading tells us of Christs’ wisdom; he shows a way of life that is good and happy, bringing us grace that is ‘stronger than human strength’, filling us, and aiding us to reach out to others.

Fr Eamon Flanagan CM