The Cleansing of the Temple
Bits & Pieces (May 27, 1993, Page 1) had this to say about anger: “A person who is angry on the right grounds, against the right persons, in the right manner, at the right moment and for the right length of time deserves great praise.”
In the Gospel of St. Matthew (11:29), Jesus is described as a “meek and humble of heart.” Besides, we have so many descriptions about Jesus that He is: Lovely, Living Bread, Life, Great Physician, Righteous Judge, Pearl of Great Price, Good Tidings of Great Joy, Good Master, Giver of Rest, unassertive and so on and so forth. But in today’s gospel passage, these descriptions of ours on Him seem to be not so true. It is because Jesus shows that He is not softy. Sometimes He is also experiencing strong emotions like anger and expresses them unequivocally. This is quite surprising in the sense that most of the times we associate anger with sin. It is as if that to get angry is sinful. But anger is not a sinful one. It is God’s-given passion intended for various purposes: self-defense, protection of others, defense of the weak, service of justice and others. What can be sinful is the excessive or inappropriate expression of anger, (some reflections from 365 Days with the Lord 2007).
What makes Jesus get angry? He gets angry for the fact that the temple is used for commercial purposes by no other than the Chief Priests instead of being used as a house of prayer. He is offended by this abuse. We know that if the Church is made like a market, the people are deprived of an adequate place to pray and an atmosphere of inner recollection and meditation. Most of the times, we are disturbed when somebody, like a child, is running back and forth inside the Church while we are praying. This is what offenses Jesus in the sense that it is against our own good or the good of others.
One time I was officiating the wedding of a closed friend of mine. Just before the celebration I announced to those who attended, because there were so many, to please switch off their cell phones or to put them in silent mode in order to observe the solemnity of the occasion. While the wedding ceremony was going on, a cell phone, I think it was level 4, rang audibly near the couple. And to my surprise, it was the cell phone of the groom who happened to be the main man of the occasion.
One priest said in his homily that maybe, this is one way of bringing the message of what our Lord intends to say in today’s gospel. His “house shall be a house of prayer” and it shall always be respected and used that way and nothing else. The using and ringing of cell phones during masses have become increasingly one of the major signs of disrespect and distraction for the faithful.
But what is more offensive is if we don’t go to Church anymore after we have been baptized. We are nowhere to be found. Just like the story of three parish priests, published in a Reader’s Digest (July, 1994 p. 64) who got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. “I got so mad,” said one, “I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats.” “I tried trapping them alive,” said the second. “Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church.” “I haven’t had any more problems,” said the third. “What did you do?” asked the others, amazed. “I simply baptized and confirmed them,” he replied. “I haven’t seen them since.”
We are like these baptized and confirmed bats.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,