The Holy Wrath of God

March 7, 2021
The Third Sunday of Lent (Year B)
Readings for Today

Note: This is the Liturgical Year B. However, the readings for Year A may be used instead when the Scrutinies are used for those preparing to receive the Sacraments on Easter.
Readings for Year A (When Scrutinies are used)

Gospel Reflection from Year A


He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”  John 2:15–16

Jesus made quite a scene.  He directly engaged those who were turning the Temple into a marketplace.  Those selling animals for sacrifice were doing so as a way of trying to make a profit off of the sacred practices of the Jewish faith.  They were not there to serve the will of God; rather, they were there to serve themselves.  And this brought forth the holy wrath of our Lord.

It’s important to point out that Jesus’ wrath was not the result of Him losing His temper.  It was not the result of His out-of-control emotions pouring forth in extreme anger.  No, Jesus was fully in control of Himself and exercised His wrath as a result of a powerful passion of love.  In this case, His perfect love was manifested through the passion of anger.

Anger is normally understood as a sin, and it is sinful when it’s the result of one losing control.  But it’s important to note that the passion of anger, in and of itself, is not sinful.  A passion is a powerful drive which manifests itself in various ways.  The key question to ask is “What is driving that passion?”

In Jesus’ case, it was hatred for sin and love for the sinner that drove Him to this holy wrath.  By turning over the tables and driving people out of the Temple with a whip, Jesus made it clear that He loved His Father, whose house they were in, and He loved the people enough to passionately rebuke the sin that they were committing.  The ultimate goal of His action was their conversion.

Jesus hates the sin in your life with the same perfect passion.  At times, we need a holy rebuke to set us on the correct path.  Do not be afraid to let the Lord offer this form of rebuke to you this Lent.

Reflect, today, upon those parts of your life that Jesus wants to cleanse.  Allow Him to speak directly and firmly to you so that you will be driven to repentance.  The Lord loves you with a perfect love and desires that all sin in your life be cleansed.

Lord, I know that I am a sinner who is in need of Your mercy and, at times, in need of Your holy wrath.  Help me to humbly receive Your rebukes of love and to allow You to drive all sin from my life.  Have mercy on me, dear Lord. Please have mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Eighteen – “This is My Body…This is My Blood”

Resources for Lent

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Scripture Meditations for Lent

All Saints/Feasts

Saint of the Day – Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday

Mass Reading Options

Featured image above: Christ Driving the Money Changers out of the Temple By Valentin de Boulogne


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