Being Zealous for the Lord
This week’s Gospel reading is indeed a tough one. So often we are presented with schmaltzy, warm fuzzy images of Jesus – the perennial nice-guy, who encourages us all to love one another, not judge anybody or anything and generally be good people. The image we are presented with here cannot be more different.
Jesus’ actions seem extreme to say the very least. Making a whip out of some cord and driving the money traders and merchants out of the Temple seems rather confounding for someone whom we often envision as mild-mannered and who, in last week’s Gospel spoke of himself as being ‘meek and humble of heart.’
The telling phrase for me in this reading is the remembrance of the disciples of the words of Scripture ‘zeal for your house will devour me.’
What does this mean? How do Jesus’ actions show a zeal for God’s house? Surely everyone is welcome in God’s house – aren’t they?
Indeed, for Jesus, the activities which were being undertaken can be symbolic of all the many obstacles which stand in the way (and which we often put in the way) of the life of holiness that he calls us to. They are obstacles to our living in the house of the Lord.
Jesus is consumed in his zeal for holiness and consequently he takes such a strong stance against those things which stand in our way – he calls us to do the same. To be merciless to those things, those bad habits, thoughts and actions which prevent us from living more fully in his love.
What can I cut out of my life that would allow me to live more fully the joy which comes from living a life united to Christ?