THURSDAY HOMILY, 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR A (2)
THEME: HOUSE OF GOD
By: Fr. Karabari Paul
‘And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple.’
Some people think that it is always a sin to be angry. But it is simply a natural human response that could either be positive or negative. Even God becomes angry; we see it numerous times through the Old Testament
In the Gospel of today (C), Jesus overthrew the tables in the Temple when He found people misusing God’s house. We can often find ourselves becoming angry at the suffering and injustice in the world. This is known as righteous anger. In Micah, God tells us that He expects us to ‘do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).
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In the temple, money changing was done because only certain coinage was then accepted in the temple from those who bought animals for sacrifices. The religious leaders made money off the system of buying and selling animals for sacrifice (thus making the temple a den of robbers). Also they led the people into mere formalism. A pilgrim traveling to Jerusalem could go to the temple, buy an animal, and offer it as a sacrifice without ever having anything to do with the animal. This led to an impersonalization of the sacrificial system. The commercial system was apparently set up in the area of the temple which had been designated for devout Gentiles to pray and so was disrupting Israel’s witness to the surrounding world.
Traders in sacrificial animals and supplies were allowed by the temple authorities to set up their stalls in the court of the Gentiles. For Jesus, this indicates that the whole institution has lost its way as a center for the worship of God (as evidenced by his reference to “My Father’s house”). Instead, it had become a human commercial enterprise. But now his own teaching “the way to God” in the temple courts begins to supplant the commerce that he had thrown out. In this way, it becomes clear that God’s will triumphs over the desires of man.
The way we see God’s presence and our attitude towards it is very important. We sometimes approach God just from the point of gains. Our relationship is purely business. We get angry when prayers are not granted exactly when and how we desired. There are still some of us who have turned the church into a commercial enterprise.
When others make unjust decisions, and act unkindly towards people, it can cause us to react in anger. But Paul warns us not to let that angry response turn into sin. He writes: ‘When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.’ When we’re angry, it can be easy to say things we regret, act out of character, and hold grudges against people. But we are called to deal with our anger in a godly way.
We need to acknowledge how we feel, and see if there is anything good we can do to help the situation. Perhaps we can take a stand against the injustice we see, make a change to how we’re living in order to counteract climate change, or give money or time to charities in order to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We can allow our anger to spur us on to make a positive change to the world. The Bible says that God’s ‘anger lasts only a moment, but his kindness lasts for a lifetime’ (Psalm 30:5). Let us pray that we would be the same. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning
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