In Jesus' cleansing of the Temple, Pope Francis sees a lesson about the liturgy

Pope Francis at June 2014 Eucharistic Procession. Credit: Daniel Ibanez / CNA.
Pope Francis at June 2014 Eucharistic Procession. Credit: Daniel Ibanez / CNA.

.- Jesus’ cleansing of the moneychangers from the Temple is a reminder to Christians of the need for “authentic worship” and “conformity between liturgy and life,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope warned against entering the “Lord’s House” while behaving in a way contrary to “justice, honesty, and charity toward one’s neighbor.”

Worship and liturgical celebrations, he explained in a homily, are “a privileged environment for listening to the Lord’s voice, which guides us on the path of righteousness and of Christian perfection.”

Pope Francis delivered his March 7 homily at Rome’s Church of Ognissanti--the Church of All Saints.

He began with a reflection on the Gospel of St. John’s account of Jesus’ confrontation with money changers and merchants within the Temple in Jerusalem.

Driving out the merchants and money changers, Jesus said: “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade” (John 2:16).

Christ’s words, the Pope said, refer not only to those conducting business within the Temple, but “above all a type of religiosity.” Jesus’ act of cleansing and “purification” is a reminder of the need for authenticity in worship.

Pope Francis added that Christians do not go to church only to “observe a precept,” or to feel right with God but to “encounter the Lord” and discover the “strength to think and act according to the Gospel.”

“The Church calls us to have and promote an authentic liturgical life,” the Pope said, explaining that this is “harmony between that which the liturgy celebrates and that which we experience in our lives.”

More than a “doctrine” or a “rite to be executed,” the liturgy is “fundamentally a source of life and light for our faith.”
    
Pope Francis cited “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” the Second Vatican Council's Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, which he said “reaffirms the essential bond that unifies the life of Jesus' disciple and liturgical worship.”

The Pope reflected on the liturgical season of Lent as a “time of interior renewal” and for remission of sins. He stressed the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This sacrament “helps us grow in union with God, regain lost joy, and experience the consolation of feeling personally welcomed by the merciful embrace of the Father.”

The pastoral visit to the Church of Ognissanti marks the 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s 1965 visit to the same parish. Pope Paul VI celebrated the Mass in the vernacular for the first time there according to the new norms of the Second Vatican Council.

On Saturday, Pope Francis recalled Paul VI’s inaugural Mass in the “language of the people.” He expressed his hope that the anniversary would revive in everyone “love for God’s house.”

“Hearing the Word of God, proclaimed in the liturgical assembly, sustains you in the journey of your Christian life,” he said.

He concluded his homily with a call for a renewed commitment to the purification of the Church’s “spiritual edifice.”

Tags: Liturgy, Pope Francis