Third Sunday of Lent Reflection
In today’s Gospel, John 2:13-25, we learn about Jesus going to Jerusalem and entering the temple on the Sabbath day. Much to his dismay as he enters the temple, he encounters numerous vendors of trinkets, sellers of sheep, goats & other animals along with money lenders/changers at their tables doing a brisk business. It appears to be the only occasion where Jesus gets angry and “loses it”, he upsets tables and chases the vendors and their animals out of the temple and tosses their coins out of the door. They had violated the House of the Lord and turned it into a common marketplace on the Sabbath Day. (Sunday shopping?)
This highlights recent concerns about the dominance of the world-wide marketplace in the life of so many persons today. We see massive fluctuations in manipulated stock market values, mortgage and housing values, pension funds, and in workforce employment levels. Each of these causing much consternation with individuals and families. We are concerned about the justice of the 1.0% controlling the vast majority of the Earth’s resources. Are these indications that greed has taken precedence over all other values and virtues that we should treasure? Have we become like the vendors, money changers and lenders who disregarded the Sabbath and the sanctity of the temple to “make a quick buck?”
Fortunately there are numerous examples that counteract this trend of greed and avarice. Primarily, it has been members of religious communities, missionaries and the missionary companions who have devoted their time (in many cases their lives) to the benefit of the poor and impoverished throughout the world with not a thought of personal compensation or stock options. These individuals have demonstrated their love for others by helping and assisting in any way they can. As Papa Francis has told us, to love unconditionally those we can serve and as the motto for the CPS (ORA et LABORA) indicates to honour the Precious Blood by Word and Works.
I am reminded of the story told by the late Anthony de Melo S.J.
“It intrigued the congregation to see their rabbi disappear each week on
the eve of the Sabbath. They suspected he was meeting the Almighty,
so they deputed one of their number to follow him.
This is what the man saw. The rabbi disguised himself in peasant clothes
and served a paralyzed Gentile woman in her cottage, cleaning out her
room and preparing a Sabbath meal for her.
When the spy got back, the congregation asked, “Where did the rabbi go?
Did he ascend to Heaven?”
“No” the man replied, “He went even higher.”
The work and deeds that we do in our lifetime, through the love that Jesus taught us, will not create financial or material riches for us, but rather rewards that far exceed the value of anything here on Earth – in fact, as with the rabbi, the reward is much higher.
Mike Monk (Pfanner Lay Mission Companion)