Third Sunday of Lent

Those who like their Jesus sweet and pious better skip today’s gospel. Those who want to explore his complex depths should read on.

The scene of driving the sellers and money-changers from the temple can’t be camouflaged by platitudes: it is violent and chaotic. What prompted Jesus to act so dramatically? We have a clue in the way “my Father’s house” is used throughout John’s gospel. “In my Father’s house are many rooms” we read in 14:2. That sounds spacious, but there is no room for greed, betrayal or sacrilege. The merchants have made the “Father’s house a marketplace,” desecrated what is most precious to God; thus, they must be expelled quickly and efficiently. 

In Jesus’ ensuing discussion with the religious authorities, their pride is attacked. Any of us who spent forty-six years on a project might react the same way. As is often the case, they remain on a literal level, seeing the temple as a building. Jesus, however, sees it as an image of the self: beloved of God and incorruptible, transcending the most glorious edifice. As he protected sacred ground, so he fights to preserve God’s children from any who oppress, exploit or harm them. Do we respect each other or ourselves as much as he does?

One response to “Third Sunday of Lent

  1. Francis Fador

    When a person reaches its breaking point violence is often the result. Another could go off and cry, but at that breaking point something is called for. This does not justify violence, but merely points to a basic human response of flight or fight. In this day of the pandemic we see that point in the excalating violence and the use of drugs and alcholo. I believe waht is called for is what Jermeiah pointed to a few days ago, “be that tree planted beside water.” I do not think any less of Jesus for this action nor do I accept it, but simply point to what happens when that boiling point is reached. I do believe the problem is how to teach a person the Wisdom of Jermeiah. Jesus would later face another delemina in the Garden and His response was to face the delemina head on with the trust and faith a person has when planting him/herself next to that water.

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