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Fifth Sunday of Lent 2012

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Carl Gustav Jung

Today, Paul invites us to distinguish between what is wise and what is foolish on our own journey to the cross. And yet, following the messages from scripture has often seemed both unwise and foolish.  The people of the Hebrew scriptures were asked to be faithful to one God - not several.  Surely it seemed foolish to go against the advice of their culture - of their neighbours- who offered sacrifice to many gods in return for prosperity and happiness.  And when we move ahead to the time of Jesus, the gospel passage today shows Jesus acting in a way that was surely unwise.  Going against the religious laws of his day, he was not only protesting the commercialism of the rituals, but the very nature of the worship itself.  Can we imagine how we would have reacted if we were living in that time and doing our best to follow the many laws laid down by our ancestral religion?

When the people questioned Jesus, and asked for a sign of his authority, he asserted that he could raise up the destroyed temple after three days - a reference to his impending death and resurrection - but not a very convincing answer except with the hindsight of the days to follow. When we follow this Jesus whose ways seemed to be not only unwise but subversive as well, we are reminded that our discipleship will require that we make a similar journey to the cross - from death to life.
When we stop and look around us - at our parish, our city, our country, our world, do we see the grave injustices that are perpetrated in the name of progress and are deserving of such anger as Jesus showed in the temple?  Perhaps now, in these months of global economic crisis -  and after many years of our modern day prophets questioning the consumer-laden values of our society -  we humans will learn again to find fulfilment in such qualities as love and truth and gratitude and compassion - goods that cannot be bought or sold.


Patty and Frank Fowler, PBVM Associates


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