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On anger and our love for the Church

That gospel episode where Christ drove away those who converted the temple area into a market place (cfr. Jn 2,13-22) reminds us of what is known as righteous anger and of our duty to love the Church, not only as a physical building but most especially as the very People of God, the very Mystical Body of Christ of whom we are members.

Yes, there is such thing as righteous anger which we have to understand well since it is a very delicate emotion or passion that can easily turn bad if we are not careful. Remember St. Paul saying, “Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” (Eph 4,26)

Anger is one of our God-given emotions, locked into our nature as persons. It has its legitimate use. But precisely because of our precarious human condition here on earth, we have to be wary of it. In fact, anger is also considered one of the capital sins, along with pride, envy, greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, that can beget many other sins.

If ever we have to be angry, let’s try our best to be angry in the spirit of Christ who showed anger over the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes, and over those who turned the temple area into a market place. Christ’s anger is what is called righteous anger, one that is done always in charity and in the truth, and not just due to opinions and biases. It’s an anger that is meant to correct, purify, heal.

Besides, Christ’s anger is only momentary. It does not last long. As a psalm would put it, “his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (30,5) He is slow to anger, and quick to forgive. We need to have a strong grip over this particular emotion.

But more importantly, the gospel episode referred to here reminds us that we should develop a great love for the Church not only in her physical dimension as in her buildings and all the materials used in her liturgical celebration, which is already a tall order, but more so in her real essence as the very Mystical Body of Christ and the very People of God.

We need to be more conscious and skillful in our Christian duty to love the Church. This cannot be taken for granted anymore, especially these days when the world is developing in a very rapid pace that often leaves behind our spiritual and religious responsibilities.

The Church is nothing other than the people of the God, gathered together at the cost of his own life on the cross by Christ. This is because we from the beginning are meant to be God’s people, members of his family, partakers of his divine life.

We have to understand that this gathering of the people of God is not achieved merely by some political, social or economic maneuverings. It is a gathering that is described as “communion,” where our heart and mind work in sync with the mind and will of God.

It is a communion where the love of God for us is corresponded to by our love for him. And this is done not only individually by each one of us, but also collectively, all of us together in an organic way. Thus, we need to help one another in this common, universal concern.*

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