One of the events in the “Holy Week” or the last week of Jesus is the cleansing of the Temple. This happened after the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:12 to 14 say, “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
What can we learn from this event in relation to what is happening around us today?
The foremost lesson is — Be angry with the things that Jesus was angry about.
In the cleansing of the Temple courts, Jesus showed what theologians call as “righteous anger.”
Jesus was angry about the businessmen and religious leaders who were exploiting the people.
During that time, you need to exchange your money into temple money in order that it can be accepted as an offering. This was the reason why there were money changers in the temple courts. Jesus was angry at them because the exchange rate was very disadvantageous to the persons who wanted to exchange their money so that they can offer it.
Jesus was also angry with the collusion of the religious authorities with the businessmen. They were declaring the lamb to be offered as with blemished. Only a religious authority can declare it as unblemished. By declaring that the animal is with blemishes, it cannot be offered anymore. So, the only thing that one can do is exchange it to the businessmen in the temple courts. It was a very corrupt scheme because a lamb was usually exchanged into a dove. And this dove from the businessmen were already declared “unblemished” by the religious authorities.
So, as a Christian, be angry when you see corruption. Be angry when you see exploitation. Be angry when you see disinformation. If we are apathetic when these kind of things are happening around us, then we become part of the problem. Let us be like Jesus who “overturns tables and benches” of evil practices.
Jesus stirred Jerusalem during that time. We too can stir our surroundings if we have Jesus in our lives.
May we have a blessed Holy Week!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University