When we ask young people why they stay away from the church, they often cite “hypocrisy” as the number one reason they do so.  Jesus tries to awaken the Pharisees and scribes to this sentiment.  The money offered to the temple and the adornments that exist within it, seem more important than the temple itself.  I suspect that Jesus is also referring to the “temple” that is our bodies as well.  

I wonder after a lifetime of ministry if Jesus will look at me and cite my own hypocrisy.  Will he point out how many people I led astray?   It would be so humbling to see how much I got wrong and disheartening to know that I spread the wrong message to others and put their soul in the balance!

The challenge Jesus gives to all of us is to “take care of the temple”, that is, ourselves.  Before we can serve others, we need to pray deeply to discern where God is leading us, so that our example is not one based on an irrational piety, or worse, a false God!  Rather we base our lives on dedication to God alone.

—Mike Hayes is the Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.