The Third Sunday in Lent
In musicals like "Jesus Christ, Super Star" and other movies created to display the story of this Jesus of Nazareth in glowing cinematic color, the scene where Jesus makes a mess of the temple courtyard is portrayed with a certain righteous glee. The prophet causing panic and destruction to make people, unbelievers, repent their wicked ways and turn to true worship. The mild-mannered teacher snaps, has enough with the hypocrisy and takes action. But, just like the parables, there is more to this story than meets the eye. The people oppressed by Rome want a conquering warrior who will rescue them from their despair. This occupation by a foreign power reminds the people they are not recovered from the Babylonian exile, and they are looking for a sign that times will change.
From our armchairs today, we look at a broken world. We want Jesus to come and overturn the wrongs and the evils, but what if Jesus attacked the constitution of our nation instead and tore it asunder? Unexpected, to be sure, and attention-grabbing; this Jesus would be tried for treason. How to reconcile the faith that encourages us to feed the hungry, give comfort to the bereaved, but also has this unstable element of protest?