Justified anger

Published March 7, 2021, 12:00 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD



In most stories of the gospel, Jesus Christ is depicted as a gentle, kind, compassionate man. However, in one incident at the temple, the Lord is seen fuming mad (read Jn 2,13-22, gospel for this 3rd Sunday of Lent).

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Making a kind of whip of cords, “he drove sheep and oxen alike out of the temple area, and overturned the money changers’ tables, spilling their coins.” “Get them out of here,” he ordered. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market place” (Jn 2.16).

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Jesus was acting out of compassion for the poor people who were being exploited. Many of these had  traveled from afar. The men were carrying their sacrificial lambs on their shoulders; the women carrying their sacrificial doves in little cages.

When they got to the temple, they were told by the religious authorities that their offerings were not acceptable. Animals for  sacrifice would have to be purchased from them, but the prices were exorbitant.

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The Lord’s anger was a TOOL of compassion which he used to defend the poor and oppressed.  It was directed for a just cause.  Indeed, we have to get angry when we are confronted with obvious injustices and exploitations in our midst.

This is what one bishop did during World War II. The prefect apostolic of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, William Finnemann, SVD, courageously stood up against the Japanese officers who wanted to convert a nun’s convent in Calapan into a house for “japayukis” or comfort women.

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For this, the bishop paid a dear price. The Japanese soldiers arrested and loaded him on a military boat, and threw him overboard in the deep waters between Calapan and Batangas. He had no way of surviving.

(To know more about the martyr-bishop, read the book, A Hero Deserving a Halo authored by Fr. Peter Michael, SVD).

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Not all kinds of anger are sinful. Sometimes people confess that they were angry at their children for misbehaving. But getting angry for disciplining a child is not sinful. In fact, tolerating a wrong done is more reprehensible.

However, the penalty dealt should be PROPORTIONATE to the wrong done. A light offence of a child should not be punished by severe beating.

Uncontrolled and violent anger is sinful. It can also lead to sickness like heart attack, hypertension, or end up in prison. So, think of the regrettable CONSEQUENCES of a blind, uncontrolled anger.

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OLD TEMPLE REPLACED. In the temple episode, Jesus condemned the worship which had become commercialized and largely hypocritical but he did not stop there. He fully intended to REPLACE it with the perfect form of worship, the new place of sacrifice of Himself on the cross, the new source of blessings.

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ASK YOURSELVES: Have you turned your churches into “market places”? You do it if you have made them houses of superficial worship or where people inside are using their cell phones or where people are talking, without any respect for the Blessed Sacrament.

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Lent is a season of reflection and introspection. It should lead us to repentance of our wrongdoings and reform of ourselves.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE.  A man confided to his friend, “I went to see my doctor about my heart ailment. He told me to change my lifestyle. No smoking, no drinking, no meat.”

“So what happened, did you change your lifestyle?” the friend asked. “No, I changed my doctor,” he replied. (Isn’t that our attitude too; we change God if we don’t like his prescription or commands for us?).

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QUIPS: “Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.” “You may party in Hell, but you will be the barbeque!”

“If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”

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INDIGENT SICK. In the spirit of the Lenten season, I am appealing for help for indigent sick we are supporting, like five-year-old leukemia  patient Alison L.; M. Maranga, J. Lopez, R. Cayunda who have pulmonary ailments.

Please contribute an amount to buy medicines and pay their medical treatments. “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did for me,” Jesus said.

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For inquiries, e-mail me at: [email protected]. You may send your donation to: Fr. Isabelo San Luis, BDO savings acct. #000 2200 51623.

Thank you.