The Gospel reading for March 8 is from the second chapter of John’s Gospel where Jesus clears the temple. The man who made a whip of cords and kicked over tables is not the meek and mild Jesus that we prefer. It’s hard for us to identify this Jesus.

It is often said that we project onto God those attributes that we would prefer to see, or, that the Creator is made in our image. I think that this is also somewhat true of how we idealize Jesus. The Jesus who clears the temple is not the Jesus who healed, taught, empowered, was crucified. Or so we think. This Jesus is proactive in almost everything he did: he did not sit idly by for people to come to him, rather, he went to them.

So in a way that seems odd to is, Jesus is healing here: he was reforming an institution that had become calcified, confused and contorted. The temple had forgotten it’s purpose as a venue for worship. Sometimes a wound must be made larger to permit proper healing.

This story is a strong reminder that faithfulness is not denial, but action and response. Our faith can never be passive but engaged in the world around us. Sometimes that is not comfortable, but faith is not about us but about the Holy One.

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