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Third Sunday of Lent – 3 March 2024


Who among us can deny that at times, more frequent than ever, our ‘aggressive’ nature shows up in most unexpected ways? Aggression can either be destructive or constructive. Our society is surrounded by aggressive policies and deals. We distance ourselves from people who have highly aggressive behaviour or attitudes. But not all aggression is destructive. Our anger, if well channelled, can turn to be constructive and well accepted. Slavery, Colonization, Dictatorship and many more vices were defeated by people who used aggression constructively. The need of the hour is to have more aggressive people and movements who can constructively topple today’s vices.   

In today’s gospel, we see Jesus though a new prism. Gentleness gives way to aggression. His words are reflected in his actions – makes a whip, drives the traders and cattle, overturns the money tables. The disciples remember Psalm 69:9, ‘Zeal for your house will devour me!” The cleansing of the Temple signified more than just broken tables, spilled coins or displaced cattle.  Jesus was reclaiming the Temple for sincere worship of God. Purity codes and excessive animal sacrifices had devalued their beliefs in a God of love and forgiveness. Temple business went out of hand and became a breeding ground for thieves. Jesus was ready to go the distance to reclaim the Temple as a ‘house of God’. He strongly reiterated, “Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a den of thieves.”

Sadly, some see this gospel passage to downplay Jesus and his mission and label him as ‘violent’. Jesus did not use force for his own advancement. He was at the service of his Father house and for the advancement of the Kingdom of God! In the Gospel of John, Jesus will soon become the new sanctuary where people can encounter God, in the person of the Risen Jesus!

We are defined as the ‘people of God’. We are the Church. And, if we were to take an honest look within, there is a lot of cleansing to be done. Aggressive forces within and without are all out to reclaim the ‘den of thieves.’ It takes courage to be part of the constructive aggression to reclaim the Kingdom of God for the Gospel that Jesus came to proclaim.

This Lenten season is an opportune moment to start with our ‘own internal cleansing’ and to weed out our habitual tendencies and sinfulness. Let our prayer be, “Lord, make me pure within.”

Fr Glenford Lowe

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