1988 March 6 – 3rd Sun of Lent (Bulletin Letters)
Cyle B – Third Sun. of Lent – 88
Ex 20, 1-17
1 Cor 1, 22 – 25
Jn 2, 13 – 25
“HE MADE A WHIP OF CORDS AND DROVE THEM OUT OF THE TEMPLE AREA…Jn.2/14: The story of the Temple cleansing is recorded in all four Gospels. It’s as certain an historical event in the life of Jesus that we have. Scholars tell us more than anything else Jesus said his act of cleansing the Temple pushed the authorities to seek his arrest, trial and execution. This week we read from St. John’s account. Only in John’ s gospel do we learn Jesus made himself a whip to help him with his deed. This must have been some sight. The Prince of Peace filled with “Zeal” for his Father’s house and brandishing a homemade whip, chasing the Temple merchants and their goods out of the Temple precincts, overturning tables, scattering their monies, yelling at the top of his lungs, “GET OUT OF HERE!”
This was no simple symbolic act. It was a real assault on the Temple establishment-the legitimate Temple establishment. The Temple precincts cover thirty acres. There must have been a sizeable number of such merchants. In Mark’s Gospel after Jesus chased them out of the Temple, he continued to keep them from re-entering. It’s as clear an example of religious/ civil disobedience as one can find. A militant act that bordered on violence but never became violent. (Jesus clearly has a different understanding of private property than we do today.)
If Jesus attempted a similar act today in our country, he would be charged with destruction of property and assault with the intent to do bodily harm. Depending on his choice of Temples, he could be charged with sabotage, insurrection or terrorism to boot. As I studied this text, my thoughts reached out to good friends now serving long prison terms for their “Plowshares” acts of disarmament in this country.
Last week’s retreat in Des Moines with Liz McAlister was very powerful. The faith based nuclear resistance movement in this country is helping us rediscover the radical militant side of the Gospel message. This side of Jesus brought him to Jerusalem for his final confrontation with the civil and religious authorities of his day. It wasn’t Jesus’ sweet words of comfort that got him hung on a cross. It was his bold acts of resistance that sealed his mortal fate. The whip brandishing Christ is as important to our understanding of Jesus as the healing touch of the Savior.
88 03 06
INDICTMENTS DELAYED: It’s not clear why, but for some reason, the Federal District Attorney’s Office is delaying the indictments of those of us repeaters who crossed the line at SAC on Dec. 28th. I called the District Attorney’s office last week and talked to Mr. Tom Thalken. He assured me that the indictments would be forthcoming. This matter is not over. lt is simply delayed.