REFLECTION FOR TODAY
March 7, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” Jn. 2:15-16
In our gospel reference today, Jesus made a whip and drove those making a mess of the temple, He made quite a scene. He drove them because they were not there to serve the will of God; rather, they were there to serve themselves. And this brought forth the holy wrath of Jesus.
It’s important to point out that Jesus’ wrath was not the result of Him losing His temper. It was not the result of His out-of-control emotions pouring forth in extreme anger. No, Jesus was fully in control of Himself and exercised His wrath as a result of a powerful passion of love. In this case, His perfect love was manifested through the passion of anger.
Anger is normally understood as a sin, and it is sinful when it’s the result of one losing control. But it’s important to note that the passion of anger, in and of itself, is not sinful. A passion is a powerful drive which manifests itself in various ways. The key question to ask is “What is driving that passion?”
In Jesus’ case, it was hatred for sin and love for the sinner that drove Him to this holy wrath. By turning over the tables and driving people out of the Temple with a whip, Jesus made it clear that He loved His Father, whose house they were in, and He loved the people enough to passionately rebuke the sin that they were committing. The ultimate goal of His action was their conversion.
Today Jesus made a whip for those who call on the name of God and yet commit evil under the guise of religion. What type of whip will Jesus make for us Christians today and for our world? Certainly, He will make a whip for religious authorities and all those charged with guiding the faith of His people but who have deviated in many ways through moral decadence, power lobbing and materialism. He will make whip for those who chose to deviate from the sacrosanct nature of marriage by way of cohabitation, “trial marriage. Those who reduced marriage to trial and error.
Jesus will make whip for those who are abusing the sanctity of human life through acts and legislations. He will make a whip for us if we defile our bodies which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, all of us have our share of Jesus’ whip but we should not worry for it is not meant to condemn us but to correct us and bring us back to the right path.
Jesus hates the sin in your life with the same perfect passion. At times, we need a holy rebuke to set us on the correct path. Do not be afraid to let the Lord offer this form of rebuke to you this Lent.
Reflect, today, upon those parts of your life that Jesus wants to cleanse. Allow Him to speak directly and firmly to you so that you will be driven to repentance. The Lord loves you with a perfect love and desires that all sin in your life be cleansed.
Lord, I know that I am a sinner who is in need of Your mercy and, at times, in need of Your holy wrath. Help me to humbly receive Your rebukes of love and to allow You to drive all sin from my life. Have mercy on me, dear Lord. Please have mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.