In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see Jesus visiting the Temple as he usually does. Jesus grew up as a faithful Jew who loved going to the Temple often, as it was his Father’s house. So he knew that it is business as usual for animals to be bought and sold, coins to be changed and the moneychangers to go about their business in the temple. Everyone had grown accustomed to the economic practices of the Temple. Suddenly and dramatically, the environment was disrupted by Jesus making a whip, driving out everyone, scattering coins and knocking over tables. Challenging the status quo of humanity is one of the reasons why Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.
Jesus challenged the status quo that, “has built a Temple for God and not the God of the Temple,” that loves the temple built with bricks and not the temple that is “the temple of his body” (John 2:21) – the “Body of Christ.” Jesus also challenged the hearts and minds of the moneychangers, where making a living replaced living a life. They had been so engrossed and consumed by the language of business that it had overtaken prayer, worship and honouring the integrity of his Father’s house.
Perhaps one of the major things that gives rise to business as usual is the fear of not knowing what the future may hold for us. We habitually gravitate towards a life of stability and predictability. Business as usual can offer us a false sense of security, limiting us from not actualising our giftedness and responding to God’s call for our lives with fullness and purpose. In light of this, we are called to stretch ourselves by being challenged and overturning the tables in our lives. This could be a moment of grace, a time of cleansing and growth; a time to appreciate and recognise what matters most in our personal relationship with God and one another.
This Monday we celebrate the International Women’s Day with the theme; “Choose to Challenge.” Let us choose to challenge those cultures and traditions that degrade not only women but humanity as a whole in its abundance. Let us choose to challenge ourselves on those cultures that treat people less than a commodity and those behaviours that diminish what we are – the Temple of God created in the image and likeness of God founded on appreciating the dignity of the human life.