Jesus’ expelling the money changers from the Temple reminds us of Moses return from Mount Sinai when he found the Jews worshipping the golden calf. When Moses was absent from the people, it left a void for the Israelites in their relationship with God. They fell back on what they know and created an ‘idol’ to reassure them of God’s presence and care - in their own way. ‘…and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there.’
What does make us ‘worshiping false gods’? What is it in us that we are so prone to create distractions and abandon God’s friendship and companionship, whom we are called to meet and worship? The third Sunday of Lent invite us to face this question. It seems that at the root of forgetting God is that we want to create our security. And the point easily comes, when we want to secure our life (via our work and business) without Him. So on this third Sunday of Lent, let us face the question: how do people, ourselves, end up in doing business without God? Just as an illustration, two people requested a Baptism certificate, back from the very early 1980s. I went through the Registry, and was surprised (even shocked) that every month there were 4 to 6 baptisms. Today we have 2-3 a year.
‘Making a whip out of some cord, Jesus drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables… Take all this out here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market!’ We Christians today are reminded, that our soul and body, our life, is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. So, again: where are we now? To what extend have we preserved (as a country, a culture, and individuals) this Temple of God? Our fist reading is the most precise guide and questionnaire…
I would like to share in image, which illustrates both Jesus’ anger - and the self-assessment of how fare or close we are to God. The Italian sculpture Arturo Modica made a sculpture, the Charging Bull (1989). This is an ambiguous image. Originally it was erected in front of the New York Stock Exchange. It to symbolize the resilience of the U.S. economy after a 1987 stock market crash. Though the statue was removed from its original location, it remained a symbol of Wall Street. Eventually, it was embraced by traders as a symbol of good luck. However, in it, many recognised ‘the golden calf’ - when we do business and secure of lives without God. Glistening, muscular, dynamic, and intensely animal the Charging Bull undeniably has an allure that is undeniable. We can easily understand why such a creature was once a symbol for a mighty god. Let this image help us in our discernment. What space God is given in our lives?
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..