In the first reading today from 1 Maccabees 4, we read about the origins of Hanukkah. Do you know what that Jewish feast, celebrated to this day, is all about? Read and find out! In the Gospel reading from Luke 19, we see Jesus throwing the merchants out of the temple area. He says to them, "It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."
Lots of things happen in a church. I'm privileged to do presentations at churches, where people talk, socialize, clap and even buy my books, usually in the narthex or elsewhere. So I sometimes feel a tension about this passage. But this is outside the context of the Liturgy.
The Mass is the highest form of prayer for Catholics. Therefore, we need to be sure to treat the church as a house of prayer. One of my pet peeves is people talking loudly and socializing while people are praying before or after (or even during) Mass. Let's always remember these words of Jesus and be courteous to those in prayer. Surely our conversations can wait until we get outside.
Father, help us to always be prayerful, and to remember your house if first and foremost a house of prayer. Amen.