Jesus Feels Sorrow and Anger

Reading 1 Rv 10:8-11

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

Gospel Lk 19:45-48

There’s a beautiful instance of Jesus’ tenderness in yesterday’s Gospel. Jesus weeps as he looks over Jerusalem from a hill outside the city. He weeps because he foresees the destruction that will befall Jerusalem: its people slaughtered, its buildings totally demolished. He sees himself as having failed this people he loved. He hadn’t succeeded in making his values attractive enough to them. They have chosen their future. And so Jesus weeps.

Tenderness sits well on a strong person. In the strong tenderness is not simply soft sentimentalism; it’s the trait of a person who is courageous enough to love.

Jesus is a strong person. In today’s Gospel his fury compels him to violence. Why the fury? The priests controlled and profited from the commercialism within the Temple. Animals for sacrifice could be purchased at lower prices and the money for the tax changed at cheaper rates outside the Temple. The priests, however, insisted that all such transactions be done within the Temple. It was the poor who suffered most.

Jesus did not walk through life on earth as a cardboard figure, unaffected by the suffering he witnessed, unmoved by evil that pressed in on him. Emotions surged within him, as they do within us. They were real, deeply felt emotions. So deeply felt that they compelled him to reach out tenderly to the suffering, to reach out in fury to those who did evil.

Jesus, of course, is divine. He is God. If anyone believes that his divinity made him less a human being, has simply not read the Gospels with understanding. Jesus was fully human, he experienced everything we experience in our lives, even the most elemental human emotions. He
suffered temptations, but was through his entire life never once overcome by sin. Jesus was fully human, as fully human as each one of us.