I have been reading the Old Testament books of Kings and Chronicles lately and wanted to provide a short reflection. At one point, Judah had a wicked king named Ahaz who opposed the worship of the true God so much that he defiled the holy places of God’s temple and then locked the temple doors. The people sunk into idolatry for years while the temple remained closed.
After Ahaz, Hezekiah became king and reinstated the worship of God. He reopened the temple and declared that Pascha (Passover) would be celebrated. But preparations had to be made. The temple had been defiled, and neither the priests nor Levites were consecrated and ready to serve. He ordered them to purify themselves so that they could serve a joyous Pascha. He also told them, “Remove everything impure from the holy places” (2 Chron. 29:5).
Today is Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent. We, too, are being asked to purify the temple of the Lord, which is our body. We do so through the discipline of fasting, asking forgiveness of others, and repenting daily for our sins.
This purification process is done so that we can celebrate the eternal Pascha, Christ’s resurrection, which is a foreshadowing of our own resurrection. The more we purify ourselves, the more we become receptive to God. His grace constantly surrounds us, but our hearts do not perceive it due to sin.
May God bless our efforts to be like Hezekiah, zealously cleansing and purifying ourselves so that we may enter the eternal joy of Pascha this year.