Friday of the 33rd Week of the Year

Luke 19:45-48

The Cleansing of the Temple


What Christ did in the gospel is an example of righteous indignation, an indication that Christ opposes anything that makes light of what is God.

The presence of merchants in the temple was evidence of something that had gone out of bounds. Their excessive and worldly preoccupations were disrupting the worship of God. And Jesus saw this. Christ’s display of indignation is a rare account indeed. No other part in the gospels speaks of Jesus’ temper as this one.

When someone is upset, we seek to understand what provoked the person. If we have anything to do with it, we move with concern to repair the damage. Next, we ask for forgiveness and restore things to their rightful place. The final step which remains a constant is a commitment to reform in order not to commit the same offense once more. As for God, we offend him every so often, but we always anchor our hope on our forgiving and understanding Lord. (Fr. Kids del Parto, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


One time I had a chance to concelebrate with somebody a funeral mass for a distant relative of mine. Just before the mass, a member of the family made a public announcement to the people to observe the solemnity of the occasion by switching off their cell phones or to put them on silent mode. While the mass was going on, a cell phone rang audibly from behind the altar table where I was standing. And to my surprise, it was the cell phone of a priest who happened to be the main celebrant of the occasion.

Maybe, this is one way of bringing the message of what our Lord intends to say in today’s gospel. His “house shall be a house of prayer” and it shall always be respected and used that way and nothing else. The using and ringing of cell phones during masses have become increasingly one of the major signs of disrespect and distraction for the faithful.

Jesus was confronted with a similar problem of irreverence when His Father’s temple was being turned into noisy and crowded market place. His reaction was emotional and harsh. With anger on his face and a whip on his hands, he drove the sellers and moneychangers out of the temple. Surely, it is unthinkable for many of us to see Jesus this way, which is far from what we know of him as forgiving, understanding and compassionate with the people around him. But can we blame him?

Jesus wanted to stress one point, that is, deep reverence for His house as a house of prayer. Just as we have time for everything, there is also a place for everything. Do we exactly do that? Do we take pride in our own parish church? Let us do our best in time and effort to make our parish church suitable place for God and an appropriate place for prayer and worship. Needless to say, keep off your cell phones inside the church.

On the personal level, we can also do some reflection on the state of our own hearts. It is like a market place unfit, dirty and noisy for someone like God to enter, to stay and to live forever? Today, we probably need God to “cleanse the temple of our hearts” too. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The Passover, commemorating the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt, was the greatest annual Jewish feast. Even Jews living outside Palestine went to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. Jewish merchants took this occasion to make big money. Part of the temple worship is the offering of animals – calves or lambs or turtledoves, depending on the economic status of the worshipper. However, animals brought along by foreign pilgrims were rejected so they were forced to buy at exorbitant prices only those “endorsed” by temple authorities. Moneychangers were all around. So much extortion, exploitation and highway robbery went on amidst the noise of men and beast, the hustle-bustle, the market-like atmosphere,. And it was supposed to be a day of worship! The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Hosea emphasized the sheer irrelevance of animal holocausts. Psalm 51:18 says: “For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnet offering from me you would refuse…”

Utter desecration of the Temple ignited the anger of Jesus. in the Old Testament it was the pagans or unbelievers who desecrated the Temple (1Mc 4:36-37). In the time of Jesus it was His own people, the Jews, who made His Father’s house a den of robbers.

In our time and in our Catholic country desecration of the sacred is not unknown. There was a time when stealing of antique statues and other precious treasure of the church was rampant. Many suspected it as inside job. There were cases also when sacred vessels: chalices, ciboria, monstrances were stolen and the consecrated hosts were thrown outside the church. All in exchange of thirty pieces of silver!

Vandalism is common even in churches. Pews are full of deep scratches from sharp knives, kneelers destroyed. We can only blame this frivolity on Catholics because usually non-Catholics do not enter Catholic churches.

There is a need to give a hard look at our eroding sense and respect for the sacred. It is time to do something about the emphatic statements of PCP-II that Filipino Catholics are “sacramentalized but not evangelized.” (Sr. Angelita Roferos, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


In one house, I noticed a sign in the sala, “This house is not just a house, it is a home of prayer.” True enough, the entire family was a prayerful one which I would call a family of prayers. What further struck me was an unsolicited comment of one of the neighbors, “You know, Father, I never heard a quarrel in that house!”

As a Christian, I always believed that prayer does not merely involve the acts or activities in praying, i.e. words of prayer, kneeling, standing. There is something more. I believe that prayer is an experience of God through the acts or activities of prayer. Many people have shared to me about their own experience in the activity, like inner peace and tranquility, enlightenment, feelings of affirmation. Many of them truly recognize that these sense experiences are signs of the presence of God in the person who prays.

When the Lord Jesus drove out the merchants in the temple area, He wanted to emphasize the respect and adoration due to God who is present in a house of prayer. More profoundly, each person who prays with a sincere devotion becomes the temple or house of God. Prayer is the channel by which a person becomes connected to God and in which Gds is able to enter the life of the person. I love to pray because it is in prayer that I experience a personal God. (Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


We Pinoys are never outdone in ingenuity. ‘ika nga ang Pinoy ay malikhain, maabilidad, mapamaraan, at madiskarte! Think. During a drinking session you probably have witnessed someone made use of his teeth as bottle opener when the real one is out of sight. On our streets, perhaps you occasionally see cars tailing an ambulance just to beat the traffic. Or perhaps, you yourself mounted a boat engine unto a tri-bike and run it like an ordinary tricycle. Or reinforced the rear of your single motorcycle with a double-shock absorber and extended its carrier so that you can overload with 7 passengers. Pinoy ka nga if you can do the unthinkable.

But the same ingenuity that we are proud of is also one of the root causes of untold ills and chaos in other people’s lives. Think again. You casually occupy a portion of a sidewalk for your own turo-turo or halo-halo stand and excuse yourself by saying, “naghahanap buhay lang naman ako.” You drive where there’s a space, even if it means converting a two-lane street into a four-lane road. Or you think traffic regulations are recommendations, not rules, applicable to everybody but yourself. Or perhaps you think it’s okay to spend your travel allowance and registration fee for an official training but not attend it at all. Or liquidate reports of officials travels supported with receipts you most likely got from friends. Pinoy ka nga because you can do the unthinkable. But does that make you proud?

When Jesus acted with such violence against the moneychangers and the sellers of animals in the temple courts, it was not because of a simple misuse of the physical structure which was intended for holy worship. It was also because that same physical structure, on a very holy occasion, was used to exploit and victimize many a helpless men/women who trooped to the celebration of the Passover.

God created everything for a good purpose. It is us who alter this good intention with our shortsightedness and selfish ends. We should exercise responsibility and put a limit to what our ingenuity can do. As a gift, ingenuity is intended by the Creator for the service and the good of humanity not just ourselves. (Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD Bible Diary 2007)



The first reading of today (1Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59), relates the re-consecration of the temple which was desecrated by the Greek King Antiochus IV by erecting a pagan idol on the altar of holocausts. Having retaken the temple, on the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it it was re-consecrated with songs, harps, flutes and cymbals. In the gospel, Jesus was fuming with anger upon seeing how the temple, which is a house of prayer, had been made into a “den of thieves.” The commerce (buying and selling) has marred the dignity of the temple and the solemnity of worship.

Today, at times, we also make the temple, “church building,” as any ordinary place where one can do anything. If we visit some churches, it is quite common now to see reminders and posters for church goers to dress properly when coming to church or that the church is not a place of eating, chatting, dating, sleeping and the like. We need to restore respect to chapels and churches as places consecrated to God. There is however, a strong swing to the opposite side. There are people who would readily transform any place into instant chapels or places of worship. No wonder why some local ordinaries are prohibiting the celebration of Masses in private houses or any place not properly designated as a place for community worship.

Moreover the gospel of today is also loaded with social concerns. William Barclay, says that, more than just facilitating the paying of taxes and offering of sacrifice, there was something wicked in the money-exchange and the selling of animals in the temple area. Moneychangers would charge for every transaction and the animals sold in booths owned by the family of the High Priest are far more expensive. In other words, there was a “deliberate victimization of the poor pilgrims, nothing more or less than legalized robbery.” This is plain exploitation of the poor. this got the ire of Jesus. it is therefore reminder for all of us, especially to the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, not to take advantage of the poor. on the contrary, as what Jesus taught and did, and as the CBCP pronouncements would go, we should help and care for the poor, the marginalized and the exploited members of our society. (Fr. Ernesto Salvar, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


It is necessary always to observe modesty in all things, even in matters of external appearance. That is why we attend weddings or special occasions we see to it that we wear the proper and decent attire. However, some people are not that sensitive as regards the importance of modesty when attending liturgical celebrations, especially when there is no particular or special occasion involved.

Jesus in today’s gospel reminds us to show respect to our churches. Although it is supposed to be the house of God and our house of prayer, many churchgoers are quite insensitive in the way they behave inside the church. This is really bothersome considering that other religions seem to have a high regard for such matters. Many Catholics seem to forget the proper attire when attending a Eucharistic celebration. Even during the Mass, some people can be seen using their cellular phones, while others do not even bother to put their phones on silent mode. Others can be observed chatting with the persons beside them. This attitude is clearly a manifestation of disrespect not only to the Church but also to those who observe modesty and respect.

I believe Jesus is asking us to look within ourselves and see how we can observe faithfully the demands of the church. Thus, we should continue to pray that we may become sensitive even in small matters and faithful to the internal and external demands of a modest religious observance. (Fr. Roger Solis SVD Bible Diary 2015)


November 18, 2016 Friday

In 2012, I was privileged to witness the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod in Rome. The University of San Carlos Press published the Canonization Album which captured the different activities of the canonization including the triduum masses, the vigil, the canonization rite, the evening procession, the thanksgiving mass, and the celebration of the Pedro Calungsod Community of Filipinos in Rome. The thanksgiving mass was held inside the Basilica of St. Peter the day after the canonization, attended by Filipino cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and pilgrims. As I entered the basilica for the first time in my life, I had mixed feelings of awe, wonder, and praise at the sight of its magnicent structure etched in the beauty of its details. Right there and then, I felt the presence of God.

Today, we commemorate the dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul, the two pillars of our faith. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus reminds us of these structures and their importance to us.

First, THE TEMPLE IS THE HOUSE OF GOD. Jesus calls it ‘my house.’ This is a call for all of us to behave properly while inside the Church as God is present there. Second, THE TEMPLE IS THE HOUSE OF PRAYER. Jesus said that my house shall be a house of prayer. It is in silence inside the Church that we can communicate to God all of our heart’s desires. Third, THE TEMPLE IS THE HOUSE OF PROCLAMATION. Jesus was teaching everyday in the temple area. Together with our families and community, we hear the word of God and its message in the Church.  With these three reasons, may our next visit to the Church be a fruitful and meaningful one. (Fr. Generoso Rebayla, Jr., SVD | USC, Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)



Sacredness of Place

Sacredness of Time

Sacredness of Person


Holy Time is set-apart time, sanctified time. Holy Time belongs to Him but it is created for us, His holy people, so that we can meet Him and live our lives with Him there.

Sacred time is, in the strictest sense of the term sacred, time set apart. It is time that is separated from profane, everyday time, distinguished by its connection with the deeper, holy, extraordinary experience of life.

Throughout Southeast Asia, we can discover many people with a similar mindset and worldview.  But, Southeast Asia is not the only place that we find such a mindset and worldview.  The people of the Old Testament had a similar worldview and mindset.  They believed that sacred objects, sacred people, and sacred places would aid them and mediate on their behalf to enter the Holy of Holies.  By entering the Holy of Holies or sacred realm, they could receive a special blessing and purification for their sins.

A holy person is one who serves as an exemplar of virtue and an embodiment of sacred power. The holy person lives according to the highest ideals of a religious tradition. The word ‘saint’ is frequently used in English for such persons; person of exceptional holiness

What is a holy person called? Catholics call them Saints.


November 23, 2012

St. Clement I,
pope and martyr
(OptM) RED

St. Columban, abbot

Friday of the 33rd Week

Rv 10:8-11
Ps 119
Lk 19:45-48

Lk 19:45-48
The Cleansing of the Temple

45Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, 46saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’ ” 47And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, 48but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.


A house of prayer. The temple is considered the house of God. It is the place of communion with God, of prayer and offering, of sacrifice and supplication. Jesus manifests zeal for the temple because of his relationship with his Father. He shows his angry side when he sees a desecration of his Father’s house.

Jesus cleanses the temple because it is fast becoming a marketplace of sacrificial animals bought and sold and of money changed and exchanged. Commerce has now mixed with religion. Jesus’ action is in accordance with prophecy and is itself prophetic. Zechariah the prophet foretold that the messianic age will be ushered in by the cleansing of the temple (14:21).

The cleansing indicates that Jesus comes as the promised Messiah inaugurating the privileged time of salvation. Since a prophet voices out the words of God, Jesus, himself God, voices out God’s will. The time of his presence is the holiest time in the holiest place of the Jews. Mundane things like buying and selling have no room in the temple. Jesus reclaims his house and prepares it for prayer and teaching. These are two of the ways by which people commune with God: they speak out their hearts to him and God listens; when he teaches them, it is their turn to listen and take to heart everything he says.

How do you cleanse the temple of your soul before participating at Sunday Mass?
Does the physical set-up of the church help in fostering worship and deeper sense of the presence of God?


WORD Today (Mc 4:36-59; Luke 19:45-48): The first temple was built in 960BC. It served as a house of prayer where our Faithful God reconciled with His unfaithful children. Due to the people’s unfaithfulness, the Temple was destroyed and rebuilt, defiled, cleanse and rededicated.

Today’s 1st reading is the cleansing and rededication of the Temple after the Maccabees recaptured it from the Syrians (165 BC).

In the Gospel Christ cleansed the Temple of the corrupt practices of merchants and priests and rededicated it back to His Father. Today, God’s Temple is the worldwide Church, still composed of unfaithful people and priests alike but struggling to be holy, cleansed through confession and rededicated by communion. Lets gather regularly as Christ’s living Temple (Fr. Ico Bajos Oct 22, 2013).


Thursday, November 19, 2015

FRIDAY OF THE 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 19:45-48. UNSA MAY MAKASUKO SA GINOO? Sa panahon ni Hesus, adunay mga tawo didto sa templo nga nagpadato sa ilang kaugalingon pinaagi sa pagpamaligya og mga mananap ug pagpamaylo’g kwarta nga ihalaray. Sa maong sistema, looy ang mga kabos nga muadto sa templo tungod kay mapugos man sila sa pagbayad og labaw pa kaysa angayan. Para kang Hesus, usa kini ka pagpanamastamas batok sa Dios ug inhustisya batok sa isigkatawo. Ang pagpadayag sa kasuko ni Hesus magpakita unsa kangil-ad ang buhat sa pagpahimulos sa kahimtang sa mga kabos. Pinaagi ning ebanghelyo, gimahimangnoan sa makusganong paagi ang tanang mga nangulo sa Simbahan ug sa katilingban nga dili magpahayahay sa kaugalingon pinaagi sa pagpamintaha sa mga kabos. Kon buhaton nila kini, maila ang dakong kasuko sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy


YOU ARE THE CHURCH – My first pastoral assignment as a parish priest was in Gulod, Novaliches. The parish was dedicated to the Holy Family. There was no church building, only a small chapel that can accommodate a hundred people at best. It was a newly established parish and I was to be their first parish priest. The most important task that lay ahead of me was to build a physical sanctuary where the community can gather together to worship, a place they can call church.

But just as important, or more important even I felt, was for the community to be Church first. It is difficult to inspire a  community to build a church unless they first understood that Church is not primarily stones and marbles but people, a community of believers bounded together by longing, love and faith in God. Once people understand and claim that for themselves, building a church structure will be less daunting as it seems. Keeping and maintaining a church structure as sacred space becomes second nature.

In the Gospel, Jesus drove away the money changers and traders from the temple saying, “Scripture has it, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it ‘a den of thieves’” (v. 46). The traders turned the temple into a marketplace because they saw it merely as a physical structure and not as a sacrament of a deep part of themselves — the heart that longs for God, that longs to worship God.

Unless we see the Church as the incarnation of a community’s unquenchable sense and longing for the sacred, any church, temple or place of worship — no matter how beautiful or grand — will end up like a marketplace.Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Have you made the transition from a structural to a personal understanding of what a Church is?

One day within Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere; the dwelling of the house of the Lord, I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked. Amen.


November 18, 2016

The saint we are remembering today was a tough woman, probably one of the toughest who ever walked this earth and probably also one of those who suffered the greatest possible hardships.

She was born of a rich family in Grenoble, France in 1769. At 18 she entered the convent against the opposition of her parents. Then came the French Revolution a year later and her convent was closed. For a while she worked with the poor. When things cooled down, she managed to fulfill her lifelong dream to go to America and work with the Indians. But she had first to do all kinds of other works out of obedience. During those long years she experienced poor lodgings, shortage of food and drinking water, lack of fuel and money, forest fires, cramped living quarters, etc. She also founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi. Finally at 72 she was able to work with the Indians, the Potawatomi, at Sugar Creek, Kansas. Though she was by then too old to learn the language, she was soon popular among the Indians, who nicknamed her “Woman-Who-Prays-Always.” She died in 1852 at the age of 83.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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One Response to Friday of the 33rd Week of the Year

  1. Ouedraogo Michel says:

    Very good homelies and helpful ones!

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