What Do We Make of an Angry Jesus?

March 3, 2024

Through the years, some people have reacted to the story of the cleansing of the temple by commenting that Jesus “sinned” through this action. Their reasoning is that Jesus went to the temple very innocently, but upon seeing the money changers and others, He simply flipped out and violently drove them out of the temple precincts. That is not what is really happening.
Jesus had been to the temple area many times in His life. He had seen the chaos—sheep and goats, cattle and other animals being sold for sacrifice, and the changing of money taking place. The noise would have been incredible, with sellers yelling and calling everyone to come to their tables, rather than someone else’s table. It was anything but a prayerful place to gather and commune with God. He had been offended for quite some time, but He had waited for the right time to make His move.
On this particular day, Jesus went to the temple mount with His disciples ready to make a major statement. This was no explosion of outrage. This was political theater that was intended to shake up those involved in this outrageous behavior—the priests and others working at the Temple—and to get the attention of the Romans and Herodians. Before this, Jesus had remained in Galilee, flying somewhat under the radar with His ministry. The leaders were suspicious of His intentions, but now He was going to make Himself known to all. No longer would they have to wonder who He thought He was and what His mission was all about.

He made a whip of cords, overturned the tables of money, drove the animals away, and said to the people, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house into a marketplace.” None of this was impulsive. It was deliberate and intentional. It got the attention of everyone. Those in the palace, or the temple, or the courts, all knew about Him now. He was on their collective radar.
As we reflect on this Gospel during Lent, we need to look within and realize that we are to be a house of prayer, with our hearts filled with grace, and with faith, hope and charity. As we examine ourselves, what is it in us that turns our lives into something less than a house of prayer? What do I need to “drive out” within me as part of this Lenten journey of penance and conversion?
Fr. Mike Comer

No Comments




no categories