When I was teaching the Bible to the kids at St. Paul’s, it was the middle of May when our Seventh Grad came to this story of cleansing the temple. For them my class was the last thing they had to get through before lunch. To get their attention, I tried playing Jesus. In a big loop from over my head I swung the whip, and then I played the roaring bulls and the bleating sheep objecting to being driven out.
Now, in teaching those classes I always stood behind my table that was loaded with books, notebooks, pencils and pens. And when my bleating sheep and roaring bulls failed to stir the kids, I played Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers I flipped my table high and over, sending books, tablets, pencils and pens flying.
But, let’s get serious. God didn’t want this Gospel story to amuse us or to wake us up. No, he wanted each of us to us to see his or her heart as his temple. He wanted us to stop turning the temples of our hearts into marketplaces or worse.
Talking about those grade school days, I have suddenly recalled sitting in my pew one day, and feeling the priest’s words get through to my heart. He made me see that I need not let thoughts take control of my heart. I could get control of my mind’s roaring bulls and bleating sheep. I could overturn the tables of the moneychangers. I could become one of those who are blessed because they are poor in spirit.