The people feared God. He was a God who would punish those who broke the Law. Folks felt that they had to earn any favors that God would grant. Moses was that hero since he had spoken to God on the mountain and then told the people what God expected of them. God expected everyone to follow the Commandments and God expected sacrifice. The main responsibility of a priest was to offer sacrifice. Therefore naturally the animals were made available at the Temple, especially for people who had to travel a long distance. Roman money was unacceptable, thus the money changers also served a purpose. The violent attitude of Jesus must have shocked them. No doubt they had become complacent—callus—settled in their ways. Can happen to anyone. Fact is that a similar attitude plagues our society. There’s strength in numbers—promiscuous behavior is often excused by saying, “Everybody’s doing it.” Premarital sex, pornography, violence in the home—“Everybody’s doing it.” Who’s going to be courageous enough to say, “You’re wrong”? Who wants to be like Jesus, willing to speak out against evil? Our Lord was willing to put His neck on the line in order to tell people that God did not want the killing of animals as worship. In essence Jesus changed years of tradition that day. Lots of feelings were hurt. The majority went home angry at what Jesus had done. Look what happened—an unhealthy pattern was broken.
Consider the unhealthy patterns that afflict us now. From infancy to old age. Parents cannot or in some cases, do choose not to take care of their babies because they are working. Consequences are already evident in angry, confused, and socially retarded children. If that is the way we treat newborns—think about what happens to adolescent children. Never any time—to busy making a living—that’s what schools are for. What can grandparents say?—they are too afraid that if they speak too loudly they might get put in a nursing home. Families have grown apart—like strangers who do not trust one another. Unhealthy patterns have come to be accepted as the norm—the American way.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our ways of doing things that we do not stop to evaluate. The Season of Lent affords us such an opportunity. Forty days of fasting, praying, alms giving are supposed to make a difference. However, unless we step back, open ourselves for critical thinking, nothing will change. Are we open to have others point to areas in our life that need improvement? Do we dare tell members of our family what they need to change? Not that we want to put ourselves above others—make judgment calls—much less to ridicule. We want offer constructive criticism. Takes a humble heart to accept criticism—even from those we love. Took awhile for the tradition of sacrificing animals to change. All journeys begin with the first step. The majority of us know the areas in our life that need improvement. The change can start today. Patterns with a long history take time. We need to be patient with ourselves and with others. Ought to put up a sign in front of the Church: Prophets Wanted. Prophets are not necessarily people who predict the future, in the Bible, they are more the folks who had the courage to tell the truth, often at the price of loosing their life.
Prophets Wanted: Those willing to speak against unhealthy patterns in our society—those willing to be just like Jesus Christ.