Carol Mullaney ’82
Director of Continuous Improvement
Concurrent Instructor, Mendoza College of Business
Today we read stories of Jesus acting in a way that makes us uncomfortable. He curses a seemingly innocent fig tree, and then, more dramatically, he demonstrates anger in a very physical way by overturning the tables and chairs of the money changers who were taking advantage of the poor within the temple area!
Discomfort is usually a call to examine things more deeply. What can we take away from these stories?
The fig tree, a common and important source of nourishment in the days of the Gospel, is not yielding fruit to satisfy Jesus’ hunger. Can we identify things that we look to for nourishment that may fall very short in satisfying our spiritual hunger? Do we spend too much time watching TV or scouring the internet, rather than listening to the Word of God? Are there unhealthy relationships in our lives that pull us down rather than build us up? What fig trees in our lives must we curse in order to make room for true spiritual nourishment?
As I read again the story of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple area, I recall that each of us, comprised of body and soul, are temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminds us that sacred places must be kept sacred, and must be treated with honor, reverence and respect. What obstacles do we have in viewing our bodies and souls as holy and sacred? And what actions must we take to overturn the tables to restore proper order within our own temple?
This seems like a tall order! But Mark doesn’t leave us with only these two stories in this Gospel passage. He follows with Jesus sharing powerful, beautiful and comforting words. He assures us that, if we have faith and ask for help in prayer, God will move mountains for us. Our challenge is that we must first “forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance.” By so doing, we extend a little of our own elbow grease to get those mountains moved.
Let us ask God, our “mountain mover,” to help us in removing our own barren fig trees and to provide strength and comfort as we keep sacred our individual temples.