According to the Gospel of Mark, the next day Jesus cleansed the Temple. He drove out the moneychangers, accusing them of having treated God’s house of prayer like a den of robbers (11:17).
Probably this was only a brief interruption in the ordinary business of the Temple. But the context suggests that Jesus meant more. In the verses immediately preceding this story, Jesus cursed a fig tree for its failure to bear fruit. Immediately following the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus’ disciples noticed that the fig tree had withered. Most scholars see this juxtaposition as intentional. The Temple is like the fig tree. It has failed to bear the fruit of good works and faithfulness, so Jesus condemned it. Eventually it too will wither and die.
This story is an important cautionary tale for us, as Holy Week begins and “we enter…with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby [God] has given us life and immortality.” The first act of Holy Week was the condemnation of the religious establishment of Jesus’ day.
We at Saint David’s do not treat the Church like a den of robbers. But this week is the culmination of a season of self-examination and repentance. We look forward to Easter with great anticipation and joy. But for six more days, all of us need to be doing what we can to prepare ourselves for our Easter celebration by acknowledging the ways that we do fall short of God’s will for us. May we use these days well!