Anger and Reconciliation
Third Sunday of Lent: March 4, 2018
If someone not from the United States makes fun of our country, we get angry. If our job, our ethnic background, even our favorite sports team is not taken seriously by others, we feel our tempers rising. If someone gets flip about our parents, or even our brothers and sisters, we become angry. A few years ago when a college magazine featured cartoons making jokes about our Blessed Mother, Catholics were rightly incensed. Someone dear to us was being made fun of.
Each of us knows what it means to be angry. We have all felt it flare up or smolder with us. In our Gospel today we find an angry Jesus. We can identify with the anger of Jesus in the gospel today because his own mission was not being taken seriously. However, most of us do not like to see angry images of Jesus.
We like to see Jesus the Good Shepherd, the comforter and healer, the gentle Christ. We are happy to see Jesus feeding 5,000 people and telling little children to come to him. But how about portraying Jesus with whips and cords and driving people out of the Temple.
From today’s Gospel we can learn three things: First of all, it is OK to be angry. It is a natural human emotion. We all have our breaking point where we can take it no more. Besides, there is something appealing about Jesus being angry. It shows his human side. The miracles show his divine side, but the anger shows his humanity. Jesus teaches us that it is OK to sometimes be angry.
Secondly, the Gospel tells us that sometimes we should be angry. There are some things in life that cry out for an angry response. For example all the assaults on human life: the abortions; the very recent shootings and killing of 17 people in Stoneman Douglass High School in Florida; the 9-11 event which destroyed the twin towers and thousands of lives; the extreme poverty and destitution in the third world.
When we become angry at all the massive injustices in the world, then we tend to do something about it. Look at all those high school students descending on Tallahassee Florida, the State capital. But we must always be sure we are directing our anger at the culprit, rather than at innocent victims: like our friends, our co-workers, our spouse, our children, our parents. Did you ever notice that so often we tend to take out our anger on people at home who had nothing to do with it, just because they’re there?
Jesus teaches us that it is OK to get angry. But anger should not lead to more violence. When it does we begin a downward spiral into a very dark night.
And thirdly, when we get angry it is always good to seek reconciliation once the anger subsides. Jesus was in no way a violent person. He showed his temper only once, which was today’s gospel. Jesus was purifying the temple. As we journey through Lent Jesus invites us to purify our hearts. Let us take time to examine our lives. Are we happy with the way we are living, with the way we treat others especially those at home. Are we proud of ourselves? If not maybe it is time to seek reconciliation with God and with others.
In conclusion, our Gospel today reveals the human side of Jesus. We are all human, and as a human we sometimes do get angry. Sometimes we should get angry. But never let your anger cause more violence or hurt innocent people. Lent is a time of self-examination and repentance. Make this a good Lent everyone. Amen.
Fr. Terry Hazel
[God said,] “You shall not steal.”
1 Corinthians 1:22–25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
[Jesus said,] “Take these out of here,and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace."