Gospel, Lk 19:45-46
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out those who were busy trading, saying to them, 46 ‘According to scripture, my house shall be a house of prayer but you have turned it into a bandits’ den.’
Today’s Gospel reading is often seen in one of two lights: first, it is the only time we see Jesus, an otherwise peaceable fellow, engage in an act of violence. Second, we see one more condemnation of the right who have corrupted the temple of God. Surely this means we ought not collect money in the churches.
This Gospel should say something more, though. Jesus is coming into His Home — His Father’s house. And, we should remember, that each of us is also the home of Christ, for Christ lives in our hearts. Further, it is not simply money that is at issue here, but trade. And what is trade, but the exchange of valuables. This action of Christ, then, concerns, not charity to the church or violence, but conversion: we must come to recognize that God is not exchangeable. Our hearts should be God’s home and trade should not occur there, for the love of God is an incommensurably high value in our lives.
Which brings me to Occupy Portland and OWS. If each of us are a temple of Christ, then we too are untradeable. Christ resides in our hearts, and yet a market value has been assigned to each of us. OWS is about re-assigning the values of the public sphere. The current public sphere focuses on the creation and accumulation of money and the use of that money to influence politics (which, in our society, constitutes the re-distribution of wealth) to favor the rich. OWS may not know it, but it is essentially a Christian movement.