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Justified anger

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

In most stories of the gospel, Jesus Christ is depicted as a gentle, kind, compassionate man. However, in one incident at the temple, the Lord is seen fuming mad (read Jn 2,13-22, gospel for 3rd Sunday of Lent).

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Making a kind of whip of cords, “he drove sheep and oxen alike out of the temple area, and overturned the money changers’ tables, spilling their coins.” “Get them out of here,” he ordered. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market place” (Jn 2.16).

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Jesus was acting out of compassion for the poor people who were being exploited. Many of these had traveled from afar. The men were carrying their sacrificial lambs on their shoulders; the women carrying their sacrificial doves in little cages.

When they got to the temple, they were told by the religious authorities that their offerings were not acceptable.

Animals for sacrifice would have to be purchased from them, but the prices were exorbitant.

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The Lord’s anger was a TOOL of compassion which he used to defend the poor and oppressed. It was directed for a just cause. Indeed, we have to get angry when we are confronted with obvious injustices and exploitations in our midst.

This is what one bishop did during World War II. The prefect apostolic of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, William Finnemann, SVD, courageously stood up against the Japanese officers who wanted to convert a nun’s convent in Calapan into a house for “japayukis” or comfort women.

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For this the bishop paid a dear price. The Japanese soldiers arrested and loaded him on a military boat, and threw him overboard on the deep waters between Calapan and Batangas.

With hands and feet tied and dragged down by big stones, the bishop had no way of surviving. (To know more about the martyr-bishop, read the book, A Hero Deserving a Halo authored by Fr. Peter Michael, SVD).

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Not all kinds of anger are sinful. Sometimes people confess that they were angry at their children for misbehaving.

But getting angry for disciplining a child is not sinful. In fact, tolerating a wrong done is more reprehensible.

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OLD TEMPLE REPLACED. In the temple episode, Jesus condemned the worship which had become commercialized and largely hypocritical but he did not stop there. He fully intended to REPLACE it with the perfect form of worship, the new place of sacrifice of Himself on the cross, the new source of blessings.

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ASK YOURSELVES: Have you turned your churches into market places? You did if you have made them as houses of mechanical worship or where people inside are using their cell phones or where people are talking, without any respect for the Blessed Sacrament.

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Lent is a season of introspection. It should lead us to repentance of our wrongdoings and reform of ourselves.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Priest meets his friend who is a heavy smoker. “Hey, Danny, didn’t I tell you smoking is bad for your health? Besides, you should not desecrate your body because it’s the Temple of the Holy Spirit!” The friend replied: “But, Father, the Temple needs incense too, isn’t it?” (That’s true, but that’s not a harmful incense).

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INDIGENT SICK. In the spirit of Lenten sacrifice, I am appealing on behalf of indigent sick we are helping like Dante Cabansag who is undergoing hemodialysis and a cancer patient, Stage 3. Also M. Maranga, J. Lopez, R. Cayunda who are sick of pulmonary ailments.

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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