Ministry opportunity of the week: support the 2018 Catholic Stewardship Appeal which has the theme “Dare to Lead.” The fifth and last use of funds to be highlighted is support to parishes and parish leaders. Over 7,000 parish leaders (council and commission members, staff, pastors) receive assistance, training, workshops, etc. We at Pius often take advantage of these excellent resources and support systems. Please use the mailing you received and be as generous as possible. There are extra forms and envelopes in the back of church, if you misplaced yours.
This coming weekend, March 10-11, we will have the celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at all Masses. Please invite anyone who would like to receive this sacrament.
Our Gospel today has Jesus driving people out of the temple with a whip. It doesn’t fit our comfortable picture of the compassionate, gentle Jesus: was He really that angry? In reality, he was being compassionate, if not gentle. The money changers and merchants, in cahoots with the religious leaders, were fleecing the poorest of the poor. Jesus’ compassion was for the poor and vulnerable; his anger was for the powerful taking advantage of them.
Sometimes, to be a follower of Jesus, we must show righteous anger and protect those who cannot protect themselves. Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela were all angry at racial discrimination BUT DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT, as Jesus did about the social injustice he was witnessing in the temple.
The call to us, I think, is to understand that we just can’t walk away when we see an injustice. This is clearer to see and somewhat easier to become involved in an individual case, for example, if we see a bully beating up on a small child or a thief stealing someone’s purse. It is more complicated and challenging with a systemic injustice, like racial prejudice, or a broader issue like the “Dreamers,” those brought illegally to the country as small children and who have grown up with the United States as the only country they know.
The angry Jesus protecting the poor in the temple is a call to us to be informed, to apply Gospel values to issues, and to act within our capacity to right injustices and protect those who cannot protect themselves. All of us need to be actors in bringing about the Kingdom of justice and mercy. And let us support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS