Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
“The Lord comes to judge the earth.” (Psalm 96:13)
This is a terrifying thought, if we come to understand judgement as a destructive condemnation of all that is imperfect. Yet, in the responsorial psalm, the coming of the Lord as judge is a cause of joy to creation. “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult. Before the LORD, for he comes…” (Psalm 96:11-12) Why such joy? “…for He comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy.” (Psalm 96:13) Our Lord does not come as one who rules over others to make his authority felt. Our Lord emphasized that when he said that the Son of Man came to serve. (Mark 10:35) Rather, he comes like a judge from the book of Judges, one who restores order to chaos, peace to violence, and justice to those who have been wronged.
To be sure, the cleansing of the temple was something which scared the people whose tables were being flipped over and whose money Jesus scattered. (Mark 11:15) Yet, Jesus did these things not to destroy the people, but to open their eyes to the God whom they were ignoring by pursuing profit for themselves. In the end, the cleansing of the Temple was done to purify the people, and is a source of joy to those now directed to praise God. Let us pray for the grace to rejoice before the Lord, even when His coming prunes us of disordered habits to which we have attached ourselves. In the end, His Presence is the greatest cause of our joy.