March 7, 2021

Temple, Priest, and Sacrifice

 (Reflection prepared for our vocation department's social media)

3rd Sunday of Lent

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) So replies Jesus to those who protest his cleansing of the Temple. But they don’t realize “he was speaking about the temple of his body.” (2:21)

What is a temple? In the most general terms, it is a place or structure where sacrifice is offered, typically by priests, who are persons appointed to offer such sacrifices. Jesus Christ is all of these things at once: “the priest through whom we are reconciled, the sacrifice by which we are reconciled, the temple where we are reconciled, and the God to whom we are reconciled.” (St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, Office of Readings for Friday of the 5th week of Lent)

By our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ and our communion with him in the Eucharist, we enter into the Temple of his Body and his priesthood enters into us, enabling us to be “built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) This is the priesthood shared by all the baptized. As we continue the journey of Lent, may we enter anew the Temple of the Lord’s Body that his priesthood and his Sacrifice may find a home in us.