Reflections on Jn 2: 13-25

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on March 8, 2015


(Based on Jn 2: 13-25)

William Charles Macready was an English drama actor. There is a tale told about this great artiste.

An eminent preacher of the Word of God, once said to this celebrated actor: “I wish you would explain to me something.” The actor was confused….”Well, what is it? I don’t know what is that I can explain anything to a preacher!”

But the preacher continued to put forth his query… ” “What is the reason for the difference between you and me?

You appear before crowds, night after night with fiction, with fantasy… and the crowds come wherever you go. I preach the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am hardly getting any crowd. How do people flock to something unreal and false, but shy away from something which is true and life-saving?”

With a naughty grin, the talented actor, Macready answered: “This is quite simple! I can tell you the difference between us. I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction.” Great answer, right?

• The actor was able to present on stage, fantasies and imaginations, with a great force of truth and certainty.

• The preacher was unable to present true and precious facts of God’s Word with the same intensity of conviction and integrity! Thus, fiction though unreal, received attention and accolades. Facts, though real, failed to be attractive and appealing! This is a tragedy of our generation perhaps….

• Worldly and materialistic aspects are presented to be wonderful and amazing… … and they draw fans and admirers

• Spiritual and Divine aspects fail to be presented as wholesome and salvific… …and they are drastically losing out on followers and the faithful.

The Gospel of the Day is a strong warning to examine the state of our Christian Faith, and be willing to make radical changes to prevent our lives from the danger of being an anti-witness.

Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. (Jn 2: 13) When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem , there would have been hundreds and thousands of people – huge crowds crammed into the narrow city streets and an astonishing hustle, bustle and noise in the temple itself.

This chaotic scene – highly excitable and thrilling experience for those gathered – was also a peak business time for all the religious artefact traders. Selling lambs and oxen and pigeons for sacrifices, retail of  appropriate food items to eat, and exchanging of currency for people who came in from different places were the different businesses that were on…

Jesus walked into the Temple… into the midst of all this chaos. He looked around and saw the state of affairs of the Temple. The place was a Holy Place. The place was to be a place of sanctity and purity. The place was to be a place of worship and prayer. But, now the atmosphere was totally changed!

• The search for sanctity was replaced with focus only on external rituals.

• The pilgrimage of holiness was substituted for money matters and business interests

Religion was losing its charm and charisma and instead being reduced to mere rituals and external pious practices! This made the Lord, to have His righteous anger kindled.

He drove out the sheep…

He drove out the cattle…

He overturned the tables…

He threw out the dove sellers…

He scattered the money all over the floor…

“Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace” (Jn 2: 16) Jesus was not a person opposed to the traditions and law of His time. He was a Jew, born and brought up, steeped in the law and the ways of the synagogue. But He was certainly opposed to the way it was being practiced! He was certainly opposed to the manner in which the law had lost its essential values!

Therefore, as a prophet, committed to restoring the basics of God’s Law…Jesus seeks to reinstate the true meaning of worship of God! “Will God be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil… God has told you what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:7) Today You and I, are challenged by the Lord, to make a critical examination of our own selves…

• Is our religion losing its charm and charisma and instead being reduced to mere rituals and external pious practices?

• Is our Faith failing to make transformations in life and only donning on uninteresting customs, routines and habits?

• Is my life as a Christian falling short of being passionate and zealous and rather becoming an anti-witness to the ideals and virtues of the Gospel?

There is a much greater attraction today to worldly and pleasurable aspects…but a drastic reduction in matters of spirituality and religiosity. There is a much great pull and attachment to seek gratification in material and transitory aspects…but an enormous decline in interests for a holy and sanctified life.

We need a real cleansing and a purification… … of our basic interests and inclinations. We need a real rejuvenation and restoration… … of our primary focus on the Kingdom and centring of the heart on true worship. Let us always remember..

Our lives may be the Only Gospel that people may ever read… Will it seem to be a fiction? Or will it be impressed upon as a fact? God Bless! Live Jesus!

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