Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Book of Sirach 44:1, 9-13, Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a+9b, & Mark 11:11-26
I suspect, after reading today's Gospel narrative, all of us probably come to conclude that the Lord Jesus had a 'temper'. Today, the common term we might use for His behavior in the temple area is that He "went off." If He was in a car and drove to the Temple and did what He did, we might even call it "road rage."
For me, this is an uncomfortable picture of Jesus. First, He is hungry, a bit stressed, and probably tired. You see, there is nothing like knowing that you are going to die a humiliating death that can cause you to become agitated. He curses. When we were children, most of us would get our mouths washed out with soap by our parents if we used "bad language." And, what about the poor fig tree? It had no fruit because it was out of season; what did it do to deserve Jesus' wrath?
There is more. Jesus goes, well, a bit crazy, in the Temple square by turning over the tables and causing a great disturbance. The people who witnessed what He was doing were stunned, yet they were also amazed when they heard what He said about the Temple being a house of prayer for "all" people. The people of Jerusalem lost sight of where they were and turned God's house into a place of thieves. However, even the chief priests and scribes who wanted Jesus put to death feared Him.
Let's get back to the fig tree, which has now withered and died. Jesus curses the
out-of-season fruitless fig tree because there is no out-of-season in the Kingdom of God. There is no time to be slaves to convention, obligation, or have feelings of guilt. There is, however, always time for the power of faith, hope, joy, and courage. There is always time for God in our lives!
Friends, today our Lord tells us to "have faith in God," meaning to "Trust God." If we have that faith within us, it needs to be activated through our prayer lives and the good deeds we perform. We need to trust it, practice it, and exercise it. Just think— if collectively, we united all our untapped faith, we might change the world. Then "all" people would live in a house of prayer.
Question of the Day: How will you bear fruit in the eyes of God?
Prayer: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all people. Have faith in God.” Amen.