Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Today’s reading describes how Jesus tossed the money changers out of the temple. Artists such as Tiepolo and El Greco have portrayed this scene in such a way that it certainly portrays a different image of Christ.
The reading provides us with some time to reflect on an important question: Who would we toss out of the church today? Perhaps it is this question that divides the Catholic community the most. In order to judge who we would toss out, we do so in light of our understanding of the fundamental mission of the church.
Before we start drawing up lists, it is important to look carefully at the story. Were these people Jesus tossed out the door part of the faith community or were they using the faith community? By the looks of it they were taking advantage of the system and not necessarily part of the community of believers who were struggling to understand how to live the faith they held.
It is interesting to note that at Jesus’ time his community of faith struggled with various interpretations of that faith. The Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes all expressed their faith in different ways. Jesus’ condemnation of members of these groups stems from when they seem to place themselves outside that faith, like the money changers of today’s gospel.
Instead of making up lists of who is “in” and “out” perhaps it would be best to understand what we all attempt to profess, that is, our faith. It was with great wisdom that Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the year of faith, which will come to a close this Sunday. The pope realized that beginning a discussion of what we have in common and a deepening of that understanding provides a better starting point for discussion than looking at specific ways that faith is expressed.