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Lenten Reflection: Day 20
Gospel, John 2:13-25
The book of James in chapter 1, verse 19 reads, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” By this scripture we are called to be prudent in our thoughts, words and deeds, while expressing an emotion that’s common to every person. Anger. What or who might make a child angry may be different from what angers an adult but both young and old most often express anger with aggression. Aggression according to Anderson and Bushman (Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa) is “any behaviour directed toward another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm. In addition, the perpetrator must believe the behaviour will cause harm and that the target is motivated to avoid the behaviour.”
Today’s Gospel depicts Jesus in aggression. Or does it? Seeing at what the people have done to His Father’s house, Jesus not only expresses outrage against corruption of the Temple’s sanctity but also gives a very strong animated message against using The Temple to nurture ‘commercial market’ attitude and nuances. Merchants do business to make profit. If there is not profit then it is not good business. To do business in the enclosure of a place of worship is a smart business move to attract a captive audience, promote merchandise by persuasion with religious connotations and trap naïve minds into pleasing God with ‘quality merchandise’ or ‘preferred merchandiser’. Jesus is cold towards such sacrilegious and fiscal nature of the mind towards spirituality and service in the God’s kingdom. His anger towards what He being done in His Father’s house, is rightly described as “I am eaten up with zeal for your house.” The zeal for internal and external sanctity is a must to understand true worship of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are the temples of The Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” To understand Jesus’ anger at The Temple, we need to relate this Temple with our bodily temple which is the dwelling house of the Spirit of God. Adorning it worldly beauty and attraction will slowly but steadily drown is in the abyss of commercial worldliness and finally make us forget the very nature of its creation which is to be an abode of sanctity and love. Just like by corrupting The Temple with their buying & selling of goods, the merchandisers exemplify how we in a way mutilate holiness, peace, righteousness from our body and spirit by cultivating a worldly attitude towards our bodies.
By the death of Christ, we have been ransomed by blood. By His resurrection, we have been made new (creation). As The Temple of God (The Church) is the house of the living presence of God, our body too is the house of the same living presence of God. Just like Jesus could not stand such corruption and dealings which had no ‘business’ in His Father’s, we who are His branches, members of His body, should be enlightened by The Word and Tradition to scrap out, drive out and wash out every such thing or being which is from the Evil one and has no business dwelling in us.