He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
Welcome on this Third Sunday in Lent. We continue in our theme for this Lent – struggle.
We are considering the stories of those who have struggled to the point of giving up on God. We see in these stories people who, in the end, were fortified because of their struggle. We may not see them ever fully overcoming their struggles, but still committed to overcoming as God has asked. Through these stories we realize that our struggles are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves in us and because of that we struggle against the things that separate us from God. We are never abandoned by Him.
Today’s gospel focuses on conflict. Jesus drives out those doing evil in His Father’s House – with a whip. Jesus is angry at the mockery and self-serving going on under those who were supposed to serve God and care for His Temple.
First, let’s allay any confusion we might have. We can all agree that Jesus was meek and humble, that He welcomed sinners, and that He cured and healed even to the point of raising three people from the dead. He was in touch with the grief others felt and He felt it with them. That said, He did not come to just leave things as they are, but to reveal His Father’s will for all of us, and the way to His Father through repentance and belief.
Today we see Jesus’ righteous anger at sin and profanity. Yes, righteous anger is a thing we are allowed to have when we see wrong. Yes, Jesus loved sinners – and so He never left them in their sin. Listen to Him saying – “go and sin no more.” Again, and again repeating – repent, turn away from your sin.
I want to relate a current struggle that one of our potential seminarians is going through. Let’s call him Jay.
Jay comes from a Christian background and is entering into the Catholic Church with us. He is studying at a Christian college right now. He let everyone know about his desire to be Catholic and a Catholic priest. For this he is being ostracized by his fellow students and the Dean and Chief Pastor of the college went before the entire school and publicly condemned Jay. Of course, Jay was hurt, and is struggling.
Once again, the Temple is being profaned. In the struggle Jay’s solution is to remain resolute, to be a true Christian example walking in Jesus’ footsteps following God’s law and committed to prayer for God’s strengthening grace in the struggle. Pray for Jay.