Sunday, July 13, 2008

9th week after Pentecost — Cleansing the Temple

Domenicos Theotocopoulos, El Greco. Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple. c.1600. London.

To-day in the old rite,
is the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost. Jesus is angered and chases those who have defiled His Father’s house, out of it and subverts (overturns) their tables. This is in all the true and canonical gospels [Matthew xxi.12-13, Mark xi.15-18, Luke xix. 45-46, John ii.14-17]. The liturgy uses Luke, virtually every piece of the visual arts uses John (El Greco, Giotto, Rembrandt, Boulogne, Bloch, Bassano, Bernardi, van Hemessen, McKillop).
And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. — John
et invenit in templo vendentes boves et oves et columbas et nummularios sedentes et cum fecisset quasi flagellum de funiculis omnes ejecit de templo oves quoque et boves et nummulariorum effudit æs et mensas subvertit
Jesus is righteously angry. He fashions a small whip, no pla
ce is it known to be said, that, he whipped them or struck them, but “the tables he overthrew.” The latin word is ‘subvertit’. This sort of subversion of commerce drove his religious and political enemies to do, as the last two verses of Luke’s 19th have it:
And he was teaching daily in the temple. And the chief priests and the scribes and the rulers of the people sought to destroy him: And they found not what to do to him: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

et erat docens cotidie in templo principes autem sacerdotum et scribæ et principes plebis quærebant illum perdere et non inveniebant quid facerent illi omnis enim populus suspensus erat audiens illum
A Franz Mayer window of a subdued Jesus. Saint Stephen, Cleveland, Ohio.
This is how Jesus dealt with the moneychange
rs and the sellers of animals of sacrifice. Last Sunday, cycle A was read, and the end of Matthew’s 11th chapter. Here, is what Our Lord and God said about labor. It is most sweet and warm.
Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

venite ad me omnes qui laboratis et onerati estis et ego reficiam vos tollite jugum meum super vos et discite a me quia mitis sum et humilis corde et invenietis requiem animabus vestris jugum enim meum suave est et onus meum leve est
Our God loves the laboring man and is grandly displeased with the moneychangers. His message is clear.

There are four places in the Bible, describing four sins that cry to heaven for justice, one is cheating the workman. Here is beginning of the fifth chapter of James:
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl in your miseries, which shall come upon you.Your riches are corrupted: and your garments are motheaten.Your gold and silver is cankered: and the rust of them shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. Behold the hire of the labourers, who have reaped down your fields, which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth: and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. You have feasted upon earth: and in riotousness you have nourished your hearts, in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the Just One, and he resisted you not.
In Luke, Jesus says, “for the labourer is worthy of his hire.” Jesus is with the working man, and he demands redress of their grievances, and just compensation for their labor. Jesus is an union activist and labor leader.

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