November 18, 2022 – Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111822.cfm)
One of the popular Filipino dishes is “Sweet and Sour” which could be of fish, pork or chicken mostly. Even in any celebration, one could have this dish. Its sweetness and the sourness and the balance of the two would usually what gives us satisfaction in our appetite. However, there is another “Sweet and Sour” that is neither of fish, pork or chicken, but the Word of God. This is the sweet and sour that John in his Book of Revelation talked about.
John had this visions where he took and swallowed the small scroll which contains the Word of God. Its taste was sweet as honey on the mount but sour on the stomach. This tells us about God’s word and God’s desire for us as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
God’s word may sound nice and wonderful to our hearing yet when we are called to absorb and practice it into our life and daily affairs, God’s word many become sour or even bitter. Why? Because God’s word would challenge us, disturb us and reprove us of our wrongdoings, of our wrong beliefs, of our selfish tendencies or our evil intentions.
This was what John was told to do – to prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues and kings. The call to prophesy is not to tolerate any evil deeds or pamper powerful people with flattery words but to disturb them, their indifferent hearts and from their comforts.
This is what we witnessed in today’s Gospel. Jesus entered the temple area and saw the disgrace and desecration done to the holy temple. Jesus could not tolerate it anymore or turn a blind eye once more to the corruption and abuse going on perpetrated by the merchants and temple authorities.
The temple became “a den of thieves” where merchants imposed high prices of temple commodities such as the animal-sacrifices. Because of their monopoly and connivance with the temple authorities they had the control of the supply and demand and thus can easily manipulate the prices and exchange rates of foreign coins to temple coins.
This was corruption and abuse against the ordinary people whose main intention was to pray to God. Thus, these money-motivated merchants and temple authorities desecrated the holy temple through their corrupt and unjust practices. Jesus stood up against this and drove them out of the temple area. Because of this also, the chief priests, scribes and leaders of the people became more hostile against Jesus. They wanted to kill him because he was bad for their business.
Today, the Lord calls us now – to take the Word of God be integrated into our life. This tells us that our Christian faith is not just a segment or a mere part of our life. Rather, our faith in the Lord encompasses our whole life and whole person.
Thus, we are called to integrate it into our daily life, thoughts, actions, dreams and hopes. With this, we too are called to let the Word of God challenge us and to disturb us when we have become cold, indifferent and unjust. We too are called to uphold honesty, justice, fairness and compassion in our work, business, studies and relationships that we may become true Christians today. Kabay pa.