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Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 04 March 2018: Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus and the moneychangers in the TempleDestroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up

In today’s Gospel we read about how Jesus overturned the tables of the merchants and the moneychangers in the Temple at Jerusalem. In order to understand the relevance of Jesus’ action, we must learn more about the activities that were going on in the temple area. Worship at the Temple in Jerusalem included animal sacrifice, and merchants sold animals to worshipers. Moneychangers exchanged Roman coins, which bore the image of the Roman emperor, for the temple coins that were needed to pay the temple tax.

Jesus’ action at the Temple in Jerusalem is recorded in all four Gospels and is often understood to be among the events that led to Jesus’ arrest and Crucifixion. The Gospel of John, however, places this event much earlier in Jesus’ public ministry than do the Synoptic Gospels. In John’s Gospel this event occurs at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, after his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (08 March) offers an opportunity to us all, women and men, to reflect on the place of women in society. Days dedicated to particular classes of people - women, men, Indigenous, migrants or those disadvantaged in different ways, for example –can invite us to set them over against other groups: women over against men, Indigenous over against settlers, poor over against rich. The conversation then easily turns to the wrongs suffered by the group at the hands of their polar opposites, and to the way those wrongs are embedded in society and culture. It is conducted as a reflection on social justice, with its emphasis on decent relationships between human beings.

That way of reflecting on women’s day is legitimate and rewarding. It throws light on the social blindness and forms of discrimination that we take for granted. These include, for example, the discrepancy in salaries for identical work, the lack of value placed on the care for young children and aged parents that falls predominantly to women, and the lack of seriousness with which female employees’ complaints of sexual harassment are treated by male managers.

Women’s day calls for change in attitudes and practise. Each year topical news events give sharpness to the reflection. This year the #Me Too campaign has highlighted the abuse of power that put many girls and women at risk in their working relationships with men. It is echoed in the recent proscription of affairs between Federal Government ministers and their staff.

The day also offers an opportunity to extend reflection beyond the baseline of social justice, which presupposes that each human being is precious, that we are depend on one another, and are called to solidarity with one another to ensure the flourishing of all, particularly the most vulnerable. It looks at the relationships between human beings that are embodied in the management of the economy, government and so on, and points to aspects that do not help human flourishing.

The conditions under which many women live in the world, however, are affected also by patterns of relationships to the world, both natural and built. Women - and so the future of societies through the children they nurture - are those most hurt by polluted water supply, the destruction of fish breeding zones by logging in the mountains, and the lack of hygiene in grossly crowded shanty towns. The effects of climate change, war and exploitation of natural resources fall unequally on women.

This perspective urges a broader vision of justice to include all the ways in which our relationships to people and to our world are embedded in the groups we form, in the places where we live and in the ways that exploitation of people and the world are funded and defended by our banks and pension funds, and meet our needs.

Jesuit Social Services is working to embody this wider view of social justice in the way it views and manages its programs and in all its relationships.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ