If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Palm Sunday (Year B) 2015


The Passion and Death of Jesus which you have just heard according St. Mark’s Gospel contains a passage which is reported also by St. Matthew and most probably comes from Peter, generally regarded as the source of Mark’s Gospel account which Matthew closely followed when incorporating it into his own Gospel story.   St. Luke, who was not present at the crucifixion of Jesus, does not have this section; neither does St. John who, though present at the Crucifixion, experienced it in his own younger, perhaps more innocent, way.
People of God, we must never forget that though John is universally recognized as the disciple Jesus loved, Peter was the one who loved Jesus most, as John himself tells us (21:15):

Simon, Simon, do you love Me more than these?  Yes, Lord, You know that I love You

At the Crucifixion John was standing nearby Mary, you might say together with her under the Cross.  He was in no particular danger, being young and somehow personally acceptable to the High Priest’s officials and able to access his home or residence.  Peter on the other hand was a notorious disciple of Jesus, and indeed a Galilean!  Peter therefore would have been standing at a greater distance from the Cross, not so noticeable in the crowd around.
Peter had just denied Jesus – as His Lord had foretold – three times, and he was now heart-broken at what he had done: consequently, Peter, looking at Jesus from some distance, had eyes and ears only for Him, and he tells us only what he could gather Jesus was saying and doing.  John, on the other hand, not so heart-brokenly centred on Jesus, here omits what Mark (Peter) and Matthew tell us about Jesus and tells us instead about the Pharisees and Scribes abuse  and also about Jesus’ words to Mary and himself.
Here is what only Mark (Peter) and Matthew tell us:

And at three o‘clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, He is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take Him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed His last.

Jesus was, Peter tells us, reciting the 22nd Psalm.  He was doing this long enough for that very gentle, personal and intimate sound first to be noticed and mentioned among the soldiers before one of them subsequently went (ran?) off to soak a sponge in some available wine, found a reed on which to put the soaked sponge, before then hurrying back carefully to show it to the others and finally offer it to the slowly agonizing … criminal as he thought.
Jesus had meanwhile been murmuring (not just, as in our days, merely been thinking of) the whole of that psalm to Himself.
Dear People of God, read the psalm for yourselves to appreciate why it meant so much to Jesus at that time!!
Jesus knew most intimately all the Scriptures and, indeed, every word in them … not one jot or tittle … however, it was the psalms that nourished His humanity most particularly.  The Law and the Prophets spoke of God’s will for the Chosen People giving direct strength and guidance for Jesus’ divine character.  The Psalms, however, tend to relate the recourse and response to God of His humble and faithful servants suffering from the ravages of sin still rampant among His Chosen People and these enabled Jesus to embrace the whole of Israel’s historically humble and faithful ‘anawim’, and afforded Him most wonderful divinely-human comfort, guidance, and strength for His own dying experience of human life at its most extreme.
Why did Jesus have to suffer so much?
Not because His Father was punishing Him for our sins!!  He had to suffer because sin had been given entrance -- through Eve’s welcome and Adam’s embrace -- into our humanity at its very source.  It could not, therefore, be just forgotten or ignored; neither could it be one-sidedly pardoned away, because sin is a reality, an instilled poison which, if not really destroyed in, driven from, men’s hearts will always be lurking and festering there, as Satan himself had been lurking and festering in the minds and hearts of Jesus’ Jewish adversaries after his initial defeat in the desert at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry until this very moment.  Humanity in its original purity had to reject, overthrow, and destroy Satan’s power in a direct and immediate contest under the leadership of One far greater than Adam, One loving us divinely and therefore inexplicably, unimaginably, in the eyes of Satan who most foolishly despised Him because of such love and the perfect authenticity of His humanity.
Jesus had begun His public ministry and merited His Father’s manifestation of His loving approval by joining Himself to those penitents awaiting John’s baptism in the Jordan; and now, at the very end of that ministry and, indeed, of His life among us, He takes upon Himself our most sinful experience, that is, the most dreadful deceit and dangerous threat resulting from human sinfulness:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

Jesus thus wills to be with us – whoever we are and whatever we may have made of ourselves and done with His gifts -- as Saviour from beginning to end.  He most deliberately and humbly lived and died among us and with us, under circumstances not always subject to His human choice but, as in our case, often against our wishes and subject only to our patient acceptance and loving prayer for God’s provident goodness and love.  Thus He ultimately died with us and for us that we might be able to turn to Him for hope and redemption even in the very last moment of our distressed lives.  Let us therefore take to our hearts and cherish most gratefully the final words of His dying prayer (vv. 20; 31-32):

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; My strength, come quickly to help Me.
And I will live for the Lord; My descendants will serve You.  The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance You have brought

Thursday, 19 March 2015

5th Sunday of Lent (B) 2015

 5th. Sunday of Lent (B)                                   (Jeremiah, 31:31-34; Hebrews, 5:7-9; John 12:20-30)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when relations between Israel and the Lord her God had, so to speak, broken down, with the result that the Lord determined to punish Israel’s faithlessness by sending her children into exile in Babylon, the Lord, nevertheless, took great care to assure Jeremiah, and through him the whole people of Israel that, despite the adversity and fear to be endured, there would be a future to look forward to, to hope for, after the years of exile and apparent abandonment.  He spoke of a new covenant -- the covenant to be ultimately ratified in the blood of Jesus -- saying:
“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the LORD: “I will place My law within them and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Israel had not been faithful to the covenant God had made with her through Moses; she had sought to behave as did the nations around her, not truly wanting to be a chosen people, holy as her God was holy.  The present pleasures, pride, and pomp, of the surrounding nations having seduced her, she wanted to enjoy such things for herself.
After around seventy years of exile in Babylon, on returning to Judea thanks to Cyrus king of the Medes and Persians who had conquered Babylon, the contemporary Jews recognized their ancestors’ unfaithfulness to the Law of Moses and did try to reverse that infidelity by close, indeed minute, study of the Law and its implications, together with a scrupulous, and at times excessively literal, observance of all its prescriptions.  This resulted in them proudly exalting scholarly knowledge and extravagant observance of the Law, while gradually losing touch with the spirit of God’s Law and sympathy with their own humanity.  Their attention came to be centred on people’s awareness of their own Pharisaic knowledge and practice of all the Law’s requirements, of their exact conformity with each and every prescription whether given directly by God to Moses or deduced, inferred, and handed down by themselves or their Scribes. They had Moses’ Law, as it were, on an operating table, and like supremely skilful surgeons or morticians, they cut and dissected each and every individual passage and phrase of the Law for meticulous classification and documentation; but all the while, the over-riding meaning and significance of the Law was becoming more and more unrecognisable to them, for, having cut the body up into every conceivable constituent part, they were increasingly unable to put it together again as a vital and recognizable whole.   Instead of themselves being formed by the Law they were re-fashioning the Law according to their own ideology, preferences, and pride.
When the Lord spoke to Jeremiah of a new covenant, He had, most critically, said:
I will place MY law within them and write it upon their hearts.
God would Himself place His new Law of the new Covenant into man’s mind and heart to guide and inspire him: man would not be allowed to take charge of it in order to make it fit into his merely human categories; on the contrary, this new Law from within -- gifted us by the Father, through His Son, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit -- would raise man up, above and beyond himself, to the level of a true child of God and living member of the Body of Christ.
Surely this historical precedent is reflected in Our Lord’s own fundamental choice of Church before book: He could have written, drafted, or caused to be suitably prepared, an authoritative Personal account of His own life’s work, teaching, and intentions; but He made no such attempt.  Instead He chose to found a Church based upon the witness and testimony of Apostles chosen by Himself after prayer to His Father, and then established for all time by the outpouring of His Spirit.  This  choice ultimately determined the central importance of faith as the supreme means of man’s total gift of self to God: faith in accordance with the witness and teaching of a humanly visible Church -- the Body of Christ – and on the basis of the sublime promises and supernaturally enduring presence of Jesus to His Church, together with the intimate power and guiding wisdom of the Holy Spirit ever at work in and through her. Catholic, Christian faith is not an individual commitment to any independent understanding of chosen books; no matter how holy, of themselves, such books might be, no matter how authoritative that understanding considered by human standards.
Later on we were told of a voice coming from heaven in response to Jesus’ prayer, a voice some bystanders thought was that of an angel speaking with Jesus, while others considered it to have been nothing more than a peal of thunder.  Jesus knew it to be the voice of His Father, but He made it expressly clear that:

            This voice did not come for My sake but for yours.
For Jesus was always seeking to give His utmost for the greater glory of His Father; and loving Him in such a way -- utterly and absolutely -- He denied Himself, in the little things as well as the great ones, with a total and selfless commitment that would remain the most inspiring model for His future disciples’ life of faith.
And that choice and appreciation is mirrored in today’s Gospel reading by a most striking fact, for in the Gospel reading today we are told:
There were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast; they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”  Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Thereupon, however, nothing whatsoever is said about any Personal contact between Jesus and these ‘first-fruits’ of the Gentiles!   How strange!  Why?
Jesus saw the saving power of His Father at work in the hearts and minds of these Greek pilgrims and from this He recognized that His own work was nearly complete: His saving Death, poured-out Blood, and glorious Resurrection on the third day alone could seal and ratify His new Covenant and enable His Church to take up and continue His saving work on earth, beginning with these Greeks (just given Him by His Father) and continuing throughout the rest of time among all nations and peoples of the world.   Now, with complete selflessness and total trust in His Father, He willed to hand over the fruit of His life’s work and imminent Passion and Death to His Church saying:
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.
What significance does all this have for us, here and now?  Much indeed; because in today’s readings we have been given an outline of certain aspects of our human situation in the world today.
Christianity is spread world-wide today, and although, alas, many Catholics and Christians are known to be heroically suffering vicious persecution and even death  for Jesus, far  too many nominal Christians in nations with an  ancient and glorious Catholic heritage  behave like the Israelites of old: they do not want to belong to a chosen people called to be holy because their God is holy, they want to be free to taste whatever the world has to offer; they do not want a law which would forewarn them of, let alone forbid, unacceptable practices.  The irony of their situation, however, is that though they might claim, at times vociferously, to be advocates of freedom, they gladly abdicate their freedom of spirit by enslaving themselves -- becoming addicts indeed -- to pleasure and money, pride and vengeance, satiating themselves with excesses of all kinds while depriving their own fellows quite callously of security, peace, and sufficiency.
There are others who, apparently zealous like the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ days, try to manipulate the Gospel and indeed God Himself, rather than allow themselves to be formed by the Spirit according to the way of the Good News of Jesus.  They seize upon some particular aspect or teaching of that Good News and then try make their choice the whole of the Gospel message: they rejoice in their own particular bit or version of the Good News but have no time or desire to let their minds be illuminated and guided by the whole Gospel.  The Gospel, some say, is Good news, which, for them, means that Christians should be make themselves seen to be continually rejoicing with clap-happy attitudes which worldly people can recognize.  Others seize upon the discipline of the Gospel and forget compassion, sympathy and understanding for others: strong in their own observance of that discipline, they give free expression to criticisms of the failings and weaknesses they think they observe in others.   Even more frequently encountered today is the idea that the Gospel is compassion and love to such an extent that forgetting that Gospel commands are direct expressions of God’s sovereign love for mankind, they want to adapt, modify, and ultimately twist and distort such divine commands into expressions of their own spurious love.   What is not easy, what is not popular, must be wrong … Jesus came to give comfort and solace to men (as we understand such things) not to restore and renew them (into the likeness of His own Son and our Saviour) by grace and discipline … such are some of our modern humanistic mantras.
People of God, the Father has drawn us to Jesus in Mother Church, and He has given us His Holy Spirit, not simply to save us from sin and death, but to save us from sin and death by re-forming us for heavenly life.  That re-newal extends to and involves the whole of our being: the way we think, the way we love; the hopes we cherish for the future and the ideals we try to realize here and now; the joys we gratefully embrace and the sorrows we patiently accept; the service we seek to give and the selfishness we try to reject.   Because we are being formed for a life we cannot yet see, a heavenly life, therefore we who are, as Jesus explicitly said ‘evil’, cannot prescribe for ourselves.  On the contrary, we have to pray the Holy Spirit that He will guide us in the way of Jesus; and, having prayed thus, we must have the humility and the courage to accept life as coming from Him, and the patience to respond with love for Him in whatever situation we find ourselves involved:
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, there also will My servant be. The Father will honour whoever serves Me.
Perhaps the greatest, most difficult and yet most beautiful lesson we have to learn from the Gospel is love of the Cross, because the Cross seems to contradict all that is natural within us.  We have to be willing, therefore, to accept, with Jesus, that we are here for a purpose which is not of our own choosing, but for God’s purpose and plan for each and every one of us individually, in Jesus: a purpose and plan which, even though it involves the Cross, we must seek to personally embrace and sincerely fulfil throughout our life; for it is a purpose and a destiny that is already – even here on earth -- our greatest privilege, and one that, ultimately, will be  our  supreme glory in heaven:
“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?  But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
In order that God’s name be glorified and His purpose be fulfilled in and through us, we have to be totally informed by the presence, and reformed by the working, of His Holy Spirit in our lives.  Let us therefore beseech the Spirit to form us in Jesus for the Father, to the extent that being brought to cry out with Him, Father, glorify Your name, we may hopefully be so wonderfully privileged as to hear, with Him, that heavenly response:
            I have glorified it (in my Son), and I will glorify it again (in you, my child).


Friday, 13 March 2015

4th Sunday of Lent Year B 2015

 4th. Sunday of Lent (B)
            (2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-21; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21)
It must have seemed very mysterious to the People of Israel when, later on, scrutinizing the Scriptures in order to better understand and serve the Lord their God, they were faced with that bizarre incident taken from the history of their forebears journeying across the desert from slavery under the Egyptians to the land the Lord would give them, that there they might serve Him in freedom.  It was, indeed, mysterious for them -- and unavoidably so -- because the whole episode has been found to be rich with meaning and significance not only for subsequent Israelites over more  than 1000 years, but even more particularly for the whole future Christian people.  In the desert, several hundreds, perhaps several thousands, of the children of Israel were saved by looking up at the bronze likeness of a deadly serpent; and that saving incident, interpreted for us by Jesus’ words in the  Gospel, has carried and still bears with it salutary teaching for countless millions of Christian people throughout time.
For God, having sent the punishing serpents to do their work among a sinful and rebellious people, was then, subsequently, able to turn that deadly instrument of His wrath into a saving grace: ‘look faithfully at the bronze serpent in sincere acknowledgment of your sin, and you will be healed of your wounds’.
For us now, Jesus says that God the Father allowed His only begotten Son, His Beloved, to be rejected by the religious authorities of His own people and cruelly tortured, before being lifted up on the Cross by the powers and principalities of imperial Rome and finally left as an exhibit to suffer a slow and agonising death.
Can God turn that most brutal, degrading, and horrendous event to serve any good purpose?  Most assuredly He can, for love, divine love, was involved: for He Who suffered loved to call Himself the ‘Son of Man’, Who, as Son of the Father was consumed with divine love for us, while, as Man -- and indeed as our Head -- He loved His Father with the total fullness of His divinely perfect humanity.   The complete answer to our question was made manifest when Jesus, three days later, rose from the dead; for then His rejection and suffering on the Cross was shown to have been but a prelude to, and preparation for, His sublime exaltation to heavenly glory in our humanity!
Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify You.  (John 17:1)
Look on the bronze serpent raised up on high that all might be able to see it and find healing!  The bronze serpent showed the cause of Israel’s suffering, for it recalled and represented the original serpent in Eden who injected the poison of sin into human life, for indeed it was Israel’s sin that brought on the punishment of  those later serpents bites in the desert of Sinai.  Jesus crucified on high likewise represented the horror of human suffering from sin (not His own but His people’s); but Jesus’ Pasch did not end with that suffering for it was entered upon and embraced as but the initial stage of His way back to His Father; and so it is Jesus, returned to His Father and finally lifted up in the glory of God by the Spirit of God, Who manifests the healing power now being offered to humanity against the primordial and still enduring ‘bite’ of sin and eternal death.
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a serpent and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover."
People of God, it is not enough for us -- the new Chosen People of Spirit and Truth -- to look on Jesus crucified with nothing more than sincere sorrow decrying such barbarity, for many humanists pride themselves on such sentiments.  It is necessary for us and all who aspire to salvation, to look at Jesus on that pole of suffering not only humbly confessing Him to have been raised up there for our sins, but also gratefully acknowledging that same Jesus as now raised up on high in glory, and to commit our sinful selves to Him with faith in the promises of His divine goodness, and with confidence in that dying manifestation of His now eternal human compassion; thus being able to hope most surely in Him for forgiveness and healing.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  (1 Peter 1:3)
The message of Christianity is perennial, and it has been proclaimed implicitly from the beginning of man’s relations with God, and explicitly in the life and teaching of Christ and His Church: in order to reach the fullness of our human capacity for life, the fullness for which we were originally created by God and subsequently redeemed by Christ, we must leave our sin and sinfulness behind by faith in, obedience to, and companionship with, Jesus our Saviour, present to us and for us in and through His Church.
The alternatives are stark and irreducible: as shown, on the one hand, in the horror of the Son of Man suffering as Jesus of Nazareth on the Cross on Calvary, and on the other hand, in the divine majesty of the same Son of Man raised up to, and sharing in, the eternal glory of His Father by the Spirit of them Both.
Why must there be this utterly un-crossable divide?   Because of the divine beauty and goodness of God’s love for us.  Our scientists search ever more frantically for life-supporting planets such as our Earth.  There are none in our solar system and so they go ever further and deeper into mind-numbingly distant galaxies and stars looking for possible planetary systems to be found there … but nothing can be found like our dear Earth … for we are uniquely loved and created in the image and likeness of God.  Profligacy in creation or indifference in our moral response to it are unthinkable because they are both absolutely alien to the beauty and holiness of Divine Love sourcing, and willing to express Itself in, our earthly being and our eternal calling.
Pope Francis seeks to emphasise God’s mercy which indeed, though beyond our comprehension, sustains all our hope, and should be central in our lives; however, St. Paul in today’s second reading guides us to the ultimate root of our faith:
God, Who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.
Dear People of God, the great tragedy and the ultimate wrong afflicting and threatening our world today is ingratitude to, and wilful ignorance and defiance of, God’s love for us and all mankind; above all, however, such ingratitude, ignorance and defiance shown by nominally Catholic Christians!  The very first petition in the only prayer taught us by Jesus goes immediately, as did His whole life, to this most radical evil afflicting our world today:
May our lives, refreshed and renewed by today’s fellowship in and with Jesus our Lord, help bring to fulfilment His work and our glorious legacy:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him (and His Church).

Friday, 6 March 2015

Third Sunday of Lent Year B 2015

(Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; John 2:13-25)

In our gospel reading St. John tells us that Jesus drove the merchants out of the Temple with a whip since they were, He said, dishonouring His ‘Father’s house’.  Saints Matthew and Mark speak of the same event with greater detail, because Matthew (21:13) tells us that Jesus declared:
Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'?  But you have made it a den of thieves; 
while Mark (11:17) agreeing with Matthew, also adds that Jesus saw His Father’s house as a house of prayer for all nations.
Thanks therefore to St. Matthew and St. Mark we can now understand why Jesus so strongly objected to His Father’s house being made, as John said, into ‘a house of merchandise’: it was because His Father’s house was meant to be a ‘house of prayer’ and indeed, ‘for all nations’.
When Solomon consecrated the first Temple to the Lord in Jerusalem we are told (1 Kings 8:29-30) that he prayed:
May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.
And so, the Temple was God’s House in so far as His name was there; but God Himself had His proper dwelling in heaven, as we hear in the book of Deuteronomy (26:15) and in the prophet Isaiah(Isa 63:15):
Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us. 
Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious.                  
Therefore, in the Temple of Jerusalem there was both a presence and an absence.  
In Mother Church today, each and every Catholic Church is indeed God’s house, His Name is there for it is consecrated to Him, and it is truly a house of prayer.  However, as in the Old Testament the Chosen People were well aware that while His Name was with the Temple, God dwelt in heaven, so today, there is at times, a feeling of absence for some Christians as they kneel in their church or chapel because they have abandoned a supremely important part of their Christian inheritance.
For Jesus took great care to help His Church, our Catholic Church today, by abiding with us in Mother Church and in each and every parish church thanks to His gift of the Eucharist and His Eucharistic Presence.  That presence is a great comfort to all Catholics.  However, we cannot take the Eucharistic Presence with us, the tabernacle remains in the church; and even though we may have received communion at Mass, nevertheless, that Eucharistic presence of Jesus in us is but fleeting: it is a Presence given to us as the supreme channel for the entry of the Spirit of Jesus into our lives.
If we live faithfully by Jesus’ Gift of the Spirit, given to us in and through Mother Church, He, the Spirit, raises us up to a new life in Jesus; and if we allow the Spirit to form us sufficiently in the likeness of Jesus, Jesus and even the Father Himself will come, with the Spirit, to dwell in us as in His Temple, as St. Paul said speaking to his faithful converts:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
When that takes place, People of God, the distance of God is totally transformed into a presence that is closer to us than we are to ourselves, as the following words of Jesus I am about to quote will explain.  These are indeed words spoken by Jesus with regard to Himself; but since the faithful disciple is one with Jesus, a living member of His Body, and in Him the faithful disciple is being made, by the Spirit of Jesus, into a child of God in the Son, therefore these words of Jesus about Himself and His Father apply also to each and every faithful disciple of Jesus according to the degree of their faithfulness.
Thus, we can experience God’s presence, the Father’s presence to us, both as a total and comprehensive knowing and being known:
No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son (Matthew 11:27);
and as a tenderness and loving intimacy beyond any possibility of adequate human comparison or comprehension:
No one has seen God at any time, (but) the only begotten Son is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18).
Finally, though having been made fully and at times painfully aware of our own nothingness and unworthiness, we are also given total confidence that this treasure, this most wonderful relationship and presence, this divinely evocative power of knowing and loving, cannot be lost, cannot be taken from us by any power, or under any circumstance save that of our own turning away from God:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. (John 10:28-30)
The High Priests and the Temple authorities abused God’s presence in the Temple in as much as they turned the necessary requirements of sacrifice into a profitable and indeed prolific source of money largely for their own purposes and to their own advantage.  Hence their hatred for Jesus’ symbolic act which manifested and condemned their excessively financial involvement in the Temple as distinct from their religious and liturgical commitments to it.
There is so much for us learn here, People of God, so much to guide us as individuals in our relationship with and appreciation of Mother Church.
See how much ‘official worship’ meant to Jesus!!  
Jesus regularly worshipped in His local synagogue with St. Joseph.  The whole family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, went to worship in the Temple every Passover.  Consider how, when twelve years of age He became a ‘bar mitzvah’, son of the Law; that is, of age as a Jew to observe the Law fully; and how, it would appear that that legal ‘coming of age’ led Him to stay behind in the Temple, delighting in His Father, while His parents were returning home with the caravan.  The official Jewish liturgy was -- as He thought in the zeal of His youth -- the key for the determination of His very life-style.

As an adult Jesus still continued His regular attendance in His local synagogue, he read there, He healed there, He taught there.   As for His visits to the Temple in Jerusalem we have today’s Gospel testifying to the dignity He required and indeed demanded for worship in God’s house!!
As a Man, however, Jesus also promoted another mode of worship, ‘in Spirit and in Truth’:
The (Samaritan) woman said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Believe Me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth." (John 4:19-24)

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …  (Matthew 6:5-9)
How do we reconcile such apparently different if not opposed attitudes: public, liturgical worship and individual, personal prayer?   In a word, by the eminently Christian relationship of complementarity, springing originally from God’s creation of man and woman.  There is, essentially, complementarity in both our physical and our spiritual lives.
In our liturgical and sacrificial public worship of God we, as His children and brothers and sister in Christ, offer Him acceptable and sincere obedience and familial praise.  In return we receive His blessings: ultimately the supreme blessing His own beloved Son made man for us and glorified by His Spirit.  That gift of His Son in our Eucharist still has a glorious ‘physicality’ for us who are so very much ‘flesh and blood’, physical in our being; and that physicality of Our Lord in the Eucharist, though passing short  in us, is nevertheless a most precious spur to an ever deeper personal relationship with Him.    His complementary Eucharistic Gift of the Holy Spirit is however an enduring presence enabling and empowering us to work at that personal relationship with God established in our oneness with Jesus, a work which is precisely our prayer life.  Thus, we are necessarily nourished by our public worship and we intimately deepen and develop our oneness with God in our private, personal, prayer.
What God, in His great wisdom and goodness has joined together, let not sinful and misguided men try to separate!
There is such a beautiful harmony in God’s prescriptions for the fullness of human life; and because Christianity and Catholicism are being cast-aside in our Western eagerness and lust for present, indeed if possible immediate, pleasure, plenty and power, the very fabric of our society is self-destructing and our vision of future blessings has no power to inspire or unite.   Liberty, fraternity, equality become divisive concepts when understood and coercively applied by ever more laws discovering and determining criminality, independently and at times in denial of the Christian teachings of Faith, Hope and Charity.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever; these are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold.