Third Sunday of Lent

 A Lenten Renewal:
Reflections on the Mass readings in light of our daily lives
By Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 2:13-25), we have the story of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple. He was angry, for sure. He said, My Father’s house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. Scripture scholars tell us that in order to offer a fitting sacrifice to God, people would buy the lambs, or the birds if they couldn’t afford a lamb, right there in the temple. But because they were ‘shopping’ within the temple they had to use temple currency. Exchanging their money for religious coins was quite a business, and the worshipers usually lost money in the deal. Jesus resented that the people were taken advantage of, and one day He must have had enough. Thus, His surprising reaction. I’ve seen artwork of this incident, and sometimes I see fire in His eyes and He’s nearly breathing out smoke. It may not have been that bad, but He was irate at least.
We’ve all been irate. Sometimes it’s justified, as it was here, but maybe not always. What makes us angry?
Injustice—toward ourselves and toward those we love. Dishonesty. Thoughtlessness. Ingratitude. Violence, for sure, whether aimed at us or at another. And sometimes we’re just angry at the way things are. Many of us have felt that in the last twelve months, over any number of situations.
Today’s question is, what we do with our anger when we realize that it’s eating away at us and is in danger of getting out of control?  I’m no expert on anger management, but I think it’s a good question to ask ourselves during Lent. If you are usually in control of your emotions, feel free to skip the next paragraph. But for those of us who have a short fuse, or if we often find ourselves grumbling to ourselves about the present state of affairs, I can only say this: Jesus knew anger.
We won’t know this side of eternity just how angry He really was in this Gospel episode, but we know He certainly can understand how we feel. So it only makes sense to turn to Him and ask Him to cool the embers of our emotions. My prayer, to be honest with you, is (not infrequently), Lord Jesus, please sweeten my disposition. Does He always answer my prayer? He does if I do my part. Whatever the cause of my rising upsetment, He asks me to remember that, anger begets anger and violence begets violence. So adding to the offending situation with my own ire usually won’t accomplish anything.
Reason helps. The Holy Spirit can help us to think reasonably about unreasonable situations. He is so ready to grant us what we need when we need it when it comes to choosing the better thing.
So we’ll leave it to Jesus to make the corded whip to bring an end to irreverence and injustice. 
As for us, we’ll just keep on trying to be patient, and listen to the voice of God that tells us,
I am with you always. And I always understand exactly how you feel.
Thank God for God.
Have a blessed Lenten Sunday.
“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

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