This Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew 2:13-25 recounts the “cleansing of the Jerusalem temple” by Jesus, as it is usually called. When I am visiting our St. Peter Catholic Elementary school classrooms (now virtually), sometimes I will get the question “Did Jesus ever get angry?” This is usually when I pray that the bell will ring. And so, we begin to unpack the answer together. Jesus was just like us, for he was fully human, (and as our faith teaches us, and fully divine). Taking it one step further, he was like us in all things but sin. This brings us to our Gospel, one of the best examples of Jesus getting angry.
The temple-market in the court of the Gentiles, as well as the money exchange tables, were meant for the benefit of the many pilgrims who would come to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus, wishing to see the temple as something other than a market-place, sought to drive out the sellers and exchangers. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace,” Jesus said.
So, is it a sin to get angry? Jesus used his passions with zeal, with great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. He saw what was taking place in God’s house, His Father’s house, and spoke up. This zeal could in fact have cost Jesus his life. So, was this a sin, to speak with zeal, and what we may say get angry? No. We once again return to the commandments of “Love of God” and “Love of Neighbour.” Jesus saw what was taking place in the temple and spoke up because of His love for God. This was the use of passions for something good.
When we see offences taking place against our God and our neighbour, we too are called to use our passions, our emotions, given to us by God, to speak up. An example of this is abortion and medically assisted suicide. Every life, from conception to natural death, is a precious gift from God. Treating our Church, the House of God, with respect, is another example. Our belief in the Eucharist being the real presence of Christ is yet another. Any offence is most troubling, and would cause us anger.
So how do we speak up? This is done with the help of the Holy Spirit, and with a message delivered in love. Taking the very best of our passions, our emotions, and setting out to change the hearts of those that believe likewise, can bring about change. And as you know, we do not pray just for change, but transformation, so that there is no going back to former ways. And all of this is done delivered in a message of love.
As I am writing this, other examples come to mind, and perhaps as you are reading this some examples are popping into your head. Let us pray for transformation. May we call upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we received at Confirmation, for the courage to speak up, by our words, deeds, and action. All delivered in a message of love, using the very best of our passions and emotions.
Please know of my continued prayers. I look forward to coming together this weekend for the celebration of Mass, for many in person, at our spiritual home of St. Julia.
Welcome home, and may God bless you and those that you love.
From Our Pastor