The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body.
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What are the colors of love? Today’s Gospel isn’t the soft pastels of the Good Shepherd. No smile on Jesus’ face. No lamb in his arms. There’s fire in his eyes and a whip in his hands. Today’s Jesus isn’t afraid to color outside the lines, to make a symbolic mess of things by (literally) turning over the tables. This is a portrait of righteous anger. And yet his anger is a moment in his ministry, not the whole of it. Jesus has just come from drinking and dancing at the wedding feast at Cana. He will soon meet Nicodemus at night and stretch this teacher’s imagination with talk of being born again. But today Jesus expresses his appropriate anger without getting stuck in it. His attack on money-grubbing is entirely non-violent but dramatically pointed. He acts. And then he moves on…
What injustice angers you? What are you doing about it?
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. His daily Lenten video reflections can be seen at heartoheart.org
Jesus, I fear raising my voice against injustice.
Fearing other voices will rise against me, I sin in silent complicity.
Silence my fears. Loosen my tongue. Unleash my tears.
Motivate me to move in the kinetic kairos of the Spirit!
Teach me your courage, your passion, your conviction.
May I never seek a stagnant peace nor get stuck in abiding anger.
Dare me to dance at the feast and to rage at injustice within our temples.
Set my heart ablaze with your many colors of love!
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ