Monday of Holy Week!

Matthew 21:12-13

And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers."

It was said long ago that Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  There is no record of Jesus yelling at unrespectable people like whores and tax collectors.  He seems to have gotten on rather well with them, since they knew they were moral failures and didn't pretend otherwise.  It was only Solid Citizens who got tongue lashings, because they assumed that Solid Citizens were Sinless Citizens and so didn't listen to Jesus.  "Moral improvement," they said to themselves, "All very good for the riffraff but not necessary here, of course."  They thought it was all about morality, when in reality it was all about receiving a whole new supernatural life that they never dreamt of in their Solid Citizen lives.  So Jesus followed the pattern Flannery O'Connor described when people asked her why her characters in her novels behaved so grotesquely: "When people are deaf, you shout."  Jesus shouted and misbehaved according to the canons of Respectable People.  It was his last chance to warn them of the foulness in their souls before they very respectably, neatly, and efficiently killed him. Today, ask God to help you tell the difference between virtue and respectability.

Mark Shea

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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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