The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just. (Ps 19:8-10)
Commandments are difficult to follow, partly because they go against human nature. We would rather be in charge than letting anyone else be in charge. That includes God.
That is really a shame, especially since God’s law is the only thing that will enable us to make it to His Kingdom. If we reject His law, if we decide to live for ourselves, we might have a combortable time here on earth. Eternity, however, will be an entirely different matter. Our eternity might well be spent in punishment rather than in the glory of heaven.
That was the reason Jesus was so upset in the temple in today’s Gospel. He saw people distorting and abusing God’s law.
On the surface, it would appear that the money-changers and the animal-sellers were a necessary thing, since the Jews often came to the temple to offer required sacrifices.
The problem was that the sellers and money-changers often took advantage of the pilgrims who came to the temple. They charged more than the fair amount for animals. They took more than the fair share for changing money. They were gouging other people at God’s expense.
Jesus was not going to let that happen. Not in His house.
So he turned over the tables. He drove those people out of the temple. Many were angry with Him. His disciples recalled scripture which said, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Others, who saw His zeal and His holiness came flocking to him.
But, we hear, toward the end of the Gospel, a passage which states, “While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.”
Being fully human, and having been tempted in the desert by the devil, Jesus understood our human nature. He knew that they people were gathering around Him for the wrong reasons. He did not want to be a part of that. So He distanced Himself from them.
He was right in doing so because many of these same people would ultimately turn against Him and see to it that He was crucified.
FAITH ACTION: This day, try to call to mind the commandments of the Lord that are most difficult for you to follow. Ask yourself, “Why?” Are they difficult because they pose an impossible situation in your life? Or, are they difficult because you would rather be doing something else? Focus on the commandment that causes you the most trouble and resolve to embrace that commandment this day.