God Is God Of All
Today is the Third Sunday of Lent. The Church invites us to continue our reflection on Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection as we share in his Paschal Mystery. If we go back to the readings, especially the gospels of the two Sundays of Lent, I can say that they are interconnected. The first Sunday of Lent is known to be the “desert experience with God.” The second Sunday, taking His three disciples to the top of the mountain is very well known as “the mountaintop experience of Jesus in his encounter with God. And today’s gospel is the cleansing of the temple by Jesus.
The temple is a place of special encounter with God. In other words, the DESERT, the MOUNTAIN and the TEMPLE are places of special encounter with God.
But today we are not going to see the glorious face of Jesus; we are going to see His angry face. Jesus is not happy with what He sees precisely because the way the temple worship has been organized no longer reflects God’s original idea of a worshipping community. He found people selling animals and exchanging money in His Father’s house. Making a whip, Jesus drives the animals out and overturns the table of the money exchangers. Jesus loses His cool and losing His cool is something that is unthinkable. It could not have happened because we know Jesus as meek, humble, merciful, compassionate, kind and loving. For us to lose His cool is simply out of His character.
Jesus gets angry of what they do, TAKE THESE THINGS AWAY; YOU SHALL NOT MAKE MY FATHER’S HOUSE A HOUSE OF TRADE. His compassion for the exploited poor people made Jesus get angry. Another thing that made Jesus get angry was the practice of Temple exclusivity. The Temple is for everybody every where man or woman on earth would find a place in which to pray and not a place for money changing or a marketplace, pure and simple.
Reflect today, upon the righteous anger God may want to put into the heart at times. Be careful to discern it correctly. Do not be deceived by this passion. Rather allow the love of God for others to be the driving force and allow a holy hatred for sin to direct you to act in a holy and just way.
Jesus was perfect in every way; we must not equate His anger with our normal experience of anger. It was a passion for Him, but different from what we normally experience. His anger was a result from His perfect love.
God is God of all and not God of a select group. It was His love for sinners and His desire for repentance that drove His passion. May His passion and all our passion always be directed at achieving His holy will.
Fr. Armando Red