In today's Gospel, we hear the zeal and passion of Jesus to protect the synagogue, his Father's house, from corruption. Jesus wanted to make sure that the sacred place where the people of God would come together would not become a marketplace, because those in charge of the synagogue were taking advantage of the people. The leaders of the synagogue were overcharging, and the people had no recourse. Jesus was rightfully angry. This gospel reminds us that our discipleship with Jesus is important, not only for each of us but for all of us, and we are called to take our call seriously.
If you would ask any one of us what we want out of life, we would say that above all we want to live in peace and security; we want to be safe; to live joyfully; to be without fear and without anxiety. We want to live in a world in which everyone is respected.
But, in order for each of us to live in peace and safety, then everyone else would have to live in peace and security too, because we are created to live in society. In society, we all have to live with the same goals, or else none of us would be safe. If we look at the Commandments as God’s way of life for our own good, then we can see the commandments in a whole new light.
So if you look at the commandment, “ Thou shalt not kill,” we can see that it is not only a “command” for us, but also a “protection.” Because if everyone agreed that there would be no killing or violence or anger, then we could all live in safety. But the whole world can only be at peace, if we all do our part. That's why God gave us the Ten Commandments. They are what we need to do for our own good, for our own protection, for our own safety.
Another example, the Fourth Commandment, “Honor your mother and father” not only tells us what to do as children, but also gives us the “protection” of having an honorable mother and father. It tells us the duties of parents, to live honorable lives, and bring their children to come to know the Lord, as well as the duties of children, not just obey, but to show respect. It is the only way that we can enjoy good family relationships without chaos.
The Third Commandment, “Keep holy the Sabbath,” Saturday, or in our case, Sunday, means that as a community of people, we gather together to worship God and support one another. God intended the church to be a place where we can find comfort and support. If someone decides that they can worship God at home by themselves, then we miss their support and they mi
ss our support.
As Christians we're called to be zealous about our faith. We are called to be fervent disciples with a passion to speak the word of God. The trouble is that it becomes more difficult because of the society in which we live. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence said that he speaks with God, and listens to God. For saying that, he was mocked on TV, and the daytime television audience laughed at his talking to God. But we know that what he said was true. We do talk to God, and listen to God, and God is actively involved in our lives. We are inspired each and every moment by the Holy Spirit, but when we are criticized by the community, we reluctant to share our faith.
We learn from the Gospel today, that we cannot be apathetic about our faith. It is not fair to ourselves, and it is not fair to anyone else.
Being apathetic means we lack interest and enthusiasm. It means feeling passive or indifferent about our faith. Because we are church, because we live in a society, because we're all in this together, it depends on all of us participating.
Because we don't live in a perfect society and never will, we will continue to have challenges; we will continue to have issues in our life that need to be resolved; we will always have to work out relationships, and to make sure that we can love one another- that's why we come to church; this is our training camp for the rest of the week, when we have to meet these challenges head-on coming to church helps prepare us. The first three Commandments talk about our relationship with God- putting God first, going to mass, setting aside one day, Sunday, to rest and be at peace.
The rest of the Commandments talk about our relationships.
The Gospel reminds us that Jesus knows human nature. He knows our weaknesses, because He was fully man, and fully Divine.
Lent is a time to reflect on whether we love God. Is God important to us? Is our relationship with Jesus active and real? God knows that each of us, including me, have broken the Commandments, at least one or more of them, in our thoughts and in our actions, But God is still merciful.
Remember God wants what is good for us, because God knows us, and Jesus knows human nature well.