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What is Your Priority?

by Nov 19, 2021Friar Reflection

Ten years ago, when I was attending classes at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, one of my professors shared with us that when Franklin Roosevelt was president, he preferred attending a little church called St. John.  It bothered him that tourists attended certain churches simply because they believed they would have the opportunity to see the president.  In this regard, my teacher told us a legendary story about a phone call that was made one day to the pastor of the Church of San Juan: “Will the president be in attendance at worship this Sunday?” asked the caller.  The pastor replied, “I don’t know, but I can assure you that Jesus will be here, and that should be good enough.”

In today’s Gospel passage Jesus goes to the temple and did not like what He found.  He was disappointed.  By upending the tables and stopping the misplaced business, he was symbolically re-focusing priorities and challenging the people to get back to the essential purpose of coming to the temple.  Jesus shows up at the temple declaring the people have drifted away from the main purpose: communion with God.  Jesus says, “my house will be a house of prayer.”  Why prayer?  Because prayer is communion with God.

Therefore, what would Jesus find in our churches today?  What mess would Jesus need to clean up?  The challenge for us today is to reaffirm our fundamental purpose as a church and followers of Jesus Christ.  Why do we go to church?  What is our purpose as a church?  May we see our parish as a gathering for people to connect with God, be transformed by God, and find hope and encouragement from one another to stay true to God’s greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself.”



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