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Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to turn over a table? We see this all the time in movies and TV shows. Several people are sitting around a table in a restaurant or an office. One person gets so upset that they stand up and flip over the table – plates and silverware go everywhere, pens and note pads go flying. Pretty dramatic.
In our gospel, Jesus takes it even a step further. He makes a whip out of rope and literally chases the moneychangers out of the temple area. Whenever we see this portrayed in a Jesus movie, it looks like Jesus is pretty upset, just like every other table flipper. But was Jesus really angry?
The disciples use a different word – zeal. Zeal is being greatly enthusiastic about an idea or mission. People who live with zeal are passionate, devoted, eager, intense, and even fanatical.
So what is Jesus so fired up about? Jesus is zealous for his house, for the temple of the Lord. Jesus’ intense response was brought about because people were trying to profit financially off of people’s desire to get close to God.
Roman coins were not allowed into the temple, and so the moneychangers charged exorbitant, criminally high rates to exchange the coins for Jewish currency. Those wishing to sacrifice at the temple needed to purchase unblemished animals. The sellers of these animals gouged each person that came to the temple.
Jesus zealously defended his house, the Temple, as a place where all were welcome to come close to God. In the Gospels, Jesus is most zealous when people with power or wealth take advantage the powerless and poor. Cleaning out the temple is one of the most dramatic examples.
Who is powerless or poor in your life? What do you do to love and support them? What could you do to help them be close to God?
Who is the least powerful person in your house? Do 1 thing this week to help them grow close to God by eliminating a barrier for them. Ideas: drive them to HNOJ to pray in the church/chapel, offer to pray with them, take care of some of their work so they have extra time to pray, give them or read to them from the Bible or spiritual book.