Are You A House Of Prayer?

11.23.18. Fri. wk  33 – O. T. (II)
Revelation 10: 8 – 11
Luke 19: 45 – 48

†Jesus entered the temple area* and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’”  And 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, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

The Gospel of the Lord.


Homily:  Fr. Mike Murphy                        Are You A House Of Prayer?

“My house is a ‘House of Prayer’, but you have made it a den of thieves”. (Luke 19:46)

†Jesus repeated these words from the Prophet Isaiah.  They have meaning for us on two levels.  Of course, the obvious level is – †Jesus entering the temple.  †Jesus was not a violent man, but when He arrived in Jerusalem on that day and saw all the commerce in the Temple, †Jesus lost His temper.

He was angry because this ‘House of Prayer’ had become a place to take advantage of the poor.  There were money changers and merchants in the Temple, and people would come and pay for the animals to be sacrificed.  The prices would be inflated so the poor are cause hardship on them.  †Jesus was angry in “righteous justice” at those who were taking advantage of the poor and making a mockery out of ‘This House of Prayer’.

“My house is a ‘House of Prayer’, but you have made it a den of thieves”.

So there is a second, more personal meaning to these words – because †Jesus was speaking about us.  We – who were created, Baptized and sanctified as Temples of the Holy Spirit – we, are that ‘House of Prayer’.  Recall the words of the centurion to †Jesus when he came and asked  †Jesus to come and cure his servant.  The centurion said: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof – but say only the word and my servant will be healed”. (Matt.8:8)  These are the words we say before receiving Communion and we say ‘under our roof’ – as a house.  We are a house – a dwelling for the Lord.

So – the question we ask is: “How much of our day is spent as a ‘House of Prayer?’”  Is †Jesus alive in us?  Do we listen to His Word?  Or – do we put the Lord in some corner and just ignore Him throughout the day?  Now – think about that.  We are that ‘House of Prayer’.

In the Gospel, St. Luke tells us: “The chief priests, scribes, and leaders of the people…were seeking to put Him to death”. (Luke 19:47)  They wanted †Jesus out of the way – because †Jesus stood in the way of their plans.  They wanted to live their life the way they wanted to live it.  They had prestige, they had power, they had possessions.

Many people today live with †Jesus ‘out of of sight – out of mind’.  They do not pray – nor do they recognize the Lord’s presence in their life.  They do not live within “A House of Prayer’.  Their heart is not, daily, reaching out in prayer to the Lord.  So – how do we avoid being like this?  St. Luke makes this observation in the Gospel.   “The people were hanging on His word”. (Luke 19:48)

Like in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem – our hearts can get crowded with all our activities with which we fill our days; those burdening responsibilities –bills and work – daily chores and caring for others.  Our days can become so busy that we have no time for prayer and ‘we do not encounter the Lord – who has entered under our roof’.  Remember what †Jesus said in another place:

“Come to me – all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest”. (Matt.11:28)

Allow †Jesus to do some of the heavy lifting in your life. He wants to do that for you.  He is there with you and for you.  We must be intentional about inviting †Jesus into our life and calling out to †Jesus in prayer to say: “Please, take some of these responsibilities from me.  Help me with this”!   And the Lord will be there.  He said:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest”.

Too often we just clutter our lives with more distractions.  We ignore His ‘Words of Comfort’, words that will strengthen us and give us hope.  So let’s ask the Lord to drive out those things that keep us from hanging on to His word.  His grace will help us to persevere and help us through our daily trials.

St Augustine once called ‘Sacred Scripture’: “The Lord’s money”.  He wrote: “Who are the money changers – if not those who seek profit from the Lord’s money and cannot distinguish between good and evil”? (excerpt from Exposition On The Gospel of Luke 9:17-18)  How do we hold on to the Lord’s money contained in the Scriptures?  How do we embrace the Scriptures?  It goes back to the parable of the talents.  The Lord has given us this wonderful gift of the Scriptures.  Do we take care of it?  Do we use it just for ourselves – or just when it is convenient for us to do so?

Let us approach God’s Word with a humble and attentive heart – and be aware of the richness of God’s Word.  Allow the Word of God to change and transform us into the likeness of Christ.  †Jesus honored the ‘House of God’ as a place of prayer and encounter with the Divine.  And through prayer and reflection – on God’s Word – we will see ourselves as – ‘A place of encounter with the Holy – with the Sacred’; purified by His presence to grow more and more in holiness.

“Lord – I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.

Say but the Word and my soul will be healed”. (Matt.8:8)

     In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.