God Sees and Cleanses

Third Sunday of Lent

Those who are selling oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers, are providing a great service, especially for those coming from distant places. Imagine how challenging it would be to travel for days while carrying sheep, oxen, or doves to offer at the Temple in Jerusalem. Instead, you can simply purchase these offerings right there in the temple, making it very convenient for the travelers. Additionally, for those carrying foreign coins or currency, they can exchange standard Greek and Roman money for Jewish and Tyrian shekels to place in the collection box.

However, under the guise of service or doing good, the temple authorities gain from allowing these merchants and money-changers to conduct business within the temple precincts. Not only that, but they are occupying a very sacred space. Similarly, we, too, under the guise of doing good, can have a hidden agenda. We might do good to others to exert control over them, seek acknowledgment, gain recognition, or benefit in return. Justifying the hidden motive becomes easy when we are engaged in something seemingly virtuous. We can easily deceive others and even ourselves, but not God.

We can easily fool others with our hidden motives and even ourselves but not God.

God knows our hidden motives, and just as Jesus cleansed the temple, we will also be cleansed. When we are purified, how do we react? Are we like those who questioned Him, as if God has to explain everything to us? Do we complain because of what we are experiencing? Do we see it as a punishment that we do not even deserve? Or are we like the disciples who would see it as part of Jesus’ saving mission? That God chastises His children because He loves us? Do we take time to reflect more on ourselves? Where did I go wrong? Do I like to justify my actions even when they are wrong? Did I lack discernment? Am I overconfident that nobody will know about my hidden motives?

We are assured that God will cleanse us. We need to acknowledge this, recognizing our need for cleansing and purification. Sometimes, when we are cleansed, we may mistakenly think that it is a punishment for our faults. However, it is an act of God’s love for us. God is not punishing us; rather, He is saving us from the punishment that is to come. God desires for all of us to be with Him in heaven.

Author

Fra Daniel Sugatan, OFMConv.
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