Commentary on the Gospel of
Greater than the Temple
In 2020, the Turkish government re-designated the famous Church of Hagia Sophia into Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque. Several international organizations, both religious and secular, decried this “conversion” of a cathedral into a mosque, which, for centuries, had been a proud symbol of rich Christian heritage. One of my friends was heartbroken and wrote to me. To her, I cited John 4:21-24: “The hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” The “loss” of Hagia Sophia, sad as it is, is also an invitation to recognize that “there is something greater than the Temple here.” The true temples of the Spirit are the lives of people around us (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19). We honor and worship God when we respond to the genuine needs of human beings, be it feeding their bodies or covering their nakedness or nourishing their souls (cf. Mt. 25:31-40).