In the mind of Jesus, a house of prayer provided a unique meeting place for God and us. What about our houses?
In Luke’s Gospel, we read of how Jesus wept as he drew near to Jerusalem and saw the city. He wept upon learning that His friend Lazarus had died. Jesus was also moved to pity when He met beggars and widows.
Today Jesus was angry. He encountered people who were ignorant of the holy ground that they were occupying. Had they forgotten the sacrifice of their ancestors who fought and died as they sought to restore the temple that was desecrated? Did they no longer remember the Maccabees? Judas, the son of Mattathias had set out to purify the sanctuary that had been defiled by an altar to Zeus.
In the mind of Jesus, the temple court provided a separation from the secular affairs of life. It was a house of prayer intended to provide a unique meeting place for God and man. He was angry that His sacred space was denigrated. This sacred place was no longer appreciated for what it was meant to be: a place for God and man to spend time together; a respite from the busyness of everyday affairs; a place to renew and regenerate.
What about our houses? Are they houses of prayer?
Let us ask ourselves if our homes are a place where we can engage God in conversation. Are our homes places that allow for moments to separate ourselves from secular concerns and the busyness of everyday affairs? Are our homes a place where we are renewed, and can experience a peace that the secular world cannot provide?
These are tough times. For some of us a time when our homes, our sanctuaries, are invaded by challenges that diminish rather than enhance our togetherness.
When Jesus said today that His house was a house of prayer, I saw parallels with what Venerable Patrick Peyton said throughout his life, that "the family that prays together stays together." In other words, a family that makes their home a house of prayer is in effect creating a sanctuary where God lives among them.
If this is so, then like the Maccabees and Jesus we too need to take a stand and work to make our homes houses of prayer and support efforts to make our churches houses of prayer.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!