3rd Sunday of Lent, Yr B
1 Cor. 1:22-25,
Some people are never angry. Nothing disturbs their peace. They never get; mad, annoyed, offended or irritated. This is often thought as a great virtue but instead it is a great weakness. There are times when we should be angry (righteous anger).
Anger is, what psychologists call, a secondary emotion. It is like physical pain. Pain is a good thing because it alerts us to the fact that there is an injury or that something is not right in our body. Anger is like that. When we become angry it is a sign that something has been violated. Getting angry is not bad. It’s what you do with anger that makes it wrong. Ephesians 4:26: “Be angry, and sin not”
The Gospel scene depicts an angry Jesus with a whip in his hand. This image of Jesus doesn’t sit well with the traditional image of a meek and smiling Jesus. We may have been taught that all anger is sinful. But anger can also be a good thing.
It can spur us to put right something that was clearly wrong. There are times that we ought to be angry/righteous anger. An unjust situation should make us angry. Anger can be an expression of love. Jesus did not just become angry on his own account. His anger resulted from his love of God and of his neighbour.
Jesus was shocked by; - Exploitation of the faithful - “My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers” - The prices of the offerings were at times 20 times the real original price of thing
There are times when we should be angry (righteous anger). Righteous anger fires our passion to do something that brings a change for our own good and good of others. We are in the season of lent. It is the season of change.
Such change can only be provoked by righteous anger.
a. During this season of Lent; our sinfulness should evoke righteous anger in us. - God loves us so much, in that his only begotten son, whom he loved so much, died for us while we were still sinners.(Rom 5:8) - Seeing how much God loves us, then our sinfulness should arouse our righteous anger and
drive us to confess our sins and abandon our evil ways.
b. During this season of lent and beyond; we should not feel sorry about the state of affairs in our homes, / work place/ in our society, and say nothing for fear of giving offence. - Jesus didn’t feel sorry about the state of affairs in the Temple and said nothing for fear of giving offence.
c. Righteous anger should lead us to a decisive action - Jesus did not kneel down to pray for the end of misuse of the temple. - He swung into action. He overturned the money changers’ tables, drove sheep and cattle out into the Jerusalem streets and stopped anyone carrying merchandise from entering the sacred courts. It was dramatic, spectacular and violent protest.
- We cannot afford to be passive.
- God doesn’t want half-hearted commitment. Righteous anger is controlled anger.
- The action of Jesus was proportionate to the offence. He did not ask for an axe or wade into the dishonest traders with a club.
- All Jesus had was a whip of cords that would do little more than sting. He made the whip himself. This indicates he did not act in haste. Jesus gave himself time to think what he was going to do. He did not lose his self-control.
- Jesus drove the cattle and sheep out of the temple where they could be retrieved. He scattered coins where they could be picked up. It is significant that Jesus did not release the doves but told their owners to remove them.
- When we get angry, we should not lose self-control and go over the top.
- Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, and sin not”
During this season of Lent, May the righteous anger;
- Consume us
- Spur us into action
- Action of confessing our sins; effecting conversion in our lives; action of bringing about change in our lives.
- We cannot afford to be passive.
- God doesn’t want half-hearted commitment