Liturgical Colour : Red
Cast out evil! Purify ourselves! Throw out the devil that is in us! Draw closer to the Lord and make ourselves worthy of Him!
Brethren in Christ, that is the essence of what we had heard in the readings of the Holy Scripture today. At the centre of it all, drawing parallels between the purification of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Maccabeans, after it had been defiled by the pagan idols of the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes, and the purification of the Temple, by Jesus our Lord, from the crooked merchants and cheaters of the people, is the importance for us to keep the purity of our souls and our bodies, which are the Temples of the Divine Presence, from all sorts of corruptions and evils.
The Lord showed His righteous anger, which He poured without mercy against those who had defiled the holiness of God’s Temple on earth, the Temple of Jerusalem. He whipped them and refused them from His presence, shunning them to the place prepared to them, outside of His salvation. That was what He had shown in the Gospel today, and what the disciples rightly pointed out, that the love Jesus has for His Father, has brought Him into a great wrath against those who defiled the House of the Lord.
The profanation was removed, and holiness returned to the House of God, in the same way that the Temple was purified by the Maccabees. The merchants profaned the House of God by the vile practices and other vices, by their dishonest practices and blatant cheating against the genuinely faithful worshippers of the Lord.
The Greeks under the Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the temple with idols and pagan practices. These were cast out of the House of God and the House was in both instances, made worthy again to be the dwelling of the Lord Most High. Then, one may ask, how does this relate to all of us? Is not the Temple as a building cleansed of vices and made worthy once again for the Lord?
That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have often not realised that in each one of us, who believes in Christ our Lord as our Saviour, we all are the House of God, the divine Temple where He resides and dwells. How so? Remember that we are all receiving the Lord regularly whenever we attend and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist, the bread and the wine turned into our Lord’s own Precious Body and Blood.
The Lord who comes to us in His Most Holy and Real Presence in the Eucharist dwells within us, just as He takes us to dwell unto Him. And since the Lord has come upon us and dwell within each one of us who had received His Body and His Blood, we have been made to be just like the Temple of Jerusalem, because God dwells within us! Remember that Jesus is also known as Emmanuel, which means God is with us!
That is why, brothers and sisters, as we lived this life given to us by the Lord, we have to be always aware, that our actions have great implications. Remember always that the Lord dwells in us, and His Spirit is living inside of us. We are the Temples of the Holy Spirit, the Temples of the Holy Presence of God. Therefore, we cannot be complacent, and allow the influences of evil to corrupt our bodies, our minds, and our souls, since we are the places where the Lord Himself had dwelled in.
If we corrupt our bodies, our minds, and our souls with evil, that is by keeping our sinfulness without check, be assured that the Lord will cast us all out of His sight, just as what He had done with the corrupt merchants who had set their stalls on the holy grounds of the Temple of Jerusalem. He will not welcome us if we do not keep our body, mind, and soul to be always worthy of Him. He will cast us out in the same way He had cast out the merchants from the Temple of God.
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Cecilia, one of the greatest saints of the Church. And we all know her well, as the patron saint of music, of our choir and of all who dedicate themselves to the commitment of beautiful hymns aimed at praising the Lord our God. Yet, St. Cecilia is also a pious and a holy martyr, one who did not allow the corruption of this world to touch her, resolving to keep herself pure and immaculate, despite the temptations and good offers from the lord of this world, that is evil.
Instead, St. Cecilia, defending her true faith unto death, received in the Lord, the assurance of eternal life and eternal glory. This is our faith, brothers and sisters, and do not let it to be corrupted by the lies of the devil. St. Cecilia lived an upright and just life, dedicated to her faith in God. She staunchly resolved to maintain the purity of her soul in an era filled with wickedness, by holding up her chastity.
St. Cecilia devoted herself and her entire life to God and therefore maintained the purity of her Temple, and she did not give up her purity for the comfortable life, and instead give it up for the sake of the Lord. Her purity is truly exemplary to all of us. And this is the kind of attitude that we need to have towards our faith in the Lord. Maintain always the purity of our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our bodies, just as St. Cecilia had done.
St. Cecilia is a role model for all of us, and I hope that today, we all will be more empowered and strengthened, to follow the Lord our God without moving away to the left or right. Let us now then resolve, and say to the Lord, that we all will honour Him and keep holy our selves, our bodies and souls, that we will ever be worthy to be His dwelling, and that on the last day, through the intercession of St. Cecilia, we will join her in singing the hymn of praise to the Lord, for eternity.
May the Lord our God give us strength, perseverance, and willpower, in order to keep the Temple of the Lord, the House and residence of our Lord in us, pure and worthy, as the beloved children of God, to whom He has sent Jesus His Son. God bless us all. Amen.