November 20, 2020 – Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112020.cfm)
We must be familiar with a relationship that was so affectionate and loving at the beginning yet has turned cold and abusive later on. We must be familiar also of a friendship that from its fun-loving adventures and source of comfort outside home has become a source of insults, gossips and slandering. There are also organizations that had been inspired to make a difference in the lives of others through service and charity but has become a source of fraud. Elected leaders too could be so promising at the beginning yet later on has become a lapdog and corrupt.
On a personal level, we could have done something good and enjoyable for ourselves as a way of coping, yet, that something could develop into a bad habit and even into an addiction. These are images and situations of something good and sweet at the beginning but through time has become sour.
What could have gone wrong? There must be something wrong along the way. This is something that we must recognize in order to warn ourselves and bring our hearts and minds into the center, into God, whose voice echoes today to call us back.
The Book of Revelation tells us about this. John, in his vision saw an angel and was told to take and eat a small scroll. John was told, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”
John tells us of God’s word and promise to us. Indeed, as the Psalm proclaims today, “How sweet to my taste is your promise!” However, for those who turned unfaithful and indifferent towards God’s word and promise will taste a bitter and sour judgment. God also will hold us accountable for what we have done with our life and with our neighbors.
This is what we have heard in today’s Gospel. The Temple that was built as a house of prayer was turned into a den of thieves. Merchants and others who made business and profit in the temple area desecrated the house of God. They took advantage of those who went to pray there. Just imagine, the businessmen at that time put a high price on every item but with a low exchange rate of money. They made agreement with the Temple authorities where only the animals sold inside the temple area will be accepted as offering and only temple money was accepted in buying and selling. Thus, people needed to change their Roman coin into a temple coin but for a low exchange.
These businessmen had surely made profit out of the ignorance of the poor. What they were doing was a plain stealing. With this, Jesus was furious. Jesus expressed his righteous anger over these people who became indifferent and profit-oriented. And so, Jesus drove them out of the temple, in the same way he drove out demons from those who were possessed.
All of this happened not just because of one person or few people but because of many who turned a blind eye to what was unjust and abusive. Many have become indifferent and accepted such abuses and corruption as part of their way of life.
Thus, we are invited that as we end this week – to recognize our attitudes that has become indifferent thus leading us to develop forms of addictions or bad habits. Look at our various efforts including our work-attitude in our workplaces and in our ministry if we have yielded also to apathy and abuses. Look at our relationship with one another and with God if we have become cold and sour because of our self-centered heart and self-absorbed ego.
Let us allow now the Lord to call us and challenge us. Let his voice be heard into our hearts and conscience as we strive to live today to be more like Jesus. Hinaut pa.