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Jesus' Picture Gallery

(19)

Sermon shared by John Vella

January 2000
Summary: The important thing is not to have just one image of Jesus. This would hardly do him justice. It would be the same as our parents showing their friend only one photograph of us.
Denomination: Catholic
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
Seeds for Sowing, Vol. IV, Issue 3, No. 18


Third Sunday of Lent (Year B)

March 26, 2000

Readings:
* Exodus 20:1-17
* 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25
* John 2:13-25

Jesusí Picture Gallery

Baby Pictures

One of the first things that new parents want to have is a picture of their baby. Many parents take this picture and enclose it in a card announcing the arrival of their new bundle of joy. Maybe some of you even have such baby pictures your parents took of you. But as we know, the picture taking doesnít stop there. As children grow and change, we want to capture their image over and over again. And as we mature the picture taking still goes on. We need to see them in their different moods and in different situations.

Imagine this: We have gone away to live in a foreign country and our parents have stayed here. A friend comes to visit--someone who has never met us. They want to see what we look like and so our parents pull out a picture of us. But it is the only picture they have of us--only one picture. The friend looks at that picture, and forever after, that is the only image that person has of us. How would you feel about that? Iím sure you would say it wasnít fair--thereís so much more to who you are than can be captured in one photo. In fact, it would take hundreds of pictures to even start to show people your different moods and how you react in different circumstances.

Our Picture of Jesus

And even though we know this is unfair, sometimes we inflict the same injustice on Jesus himself. Only this time it is not the same photograph we have of Jesus. This time it is the same fixed image we have of Jesus. This image that we carry in our minds and hearts could have come from an actual picture of Jesus that hung on the wall of our parentís home; or maybe it came from one favourite passage of scripture. For many people it was the image of Jesus dying on the cross; for others it was Jesus as the Good Shepherd holding a tiny lamb in his arms. Still others grew up with a picture of the Sacred Heart. All of these images are valuable. They all help us to form a picture of who Jesus is.

But the important thing is not to have just one image of Jesus. This would hardly do him justice. It would be the same as our parents showing their friend only one photograph of us.

Jesus in a Different Light

All of which brings us to todayís Gospel. There we see Jesus in a completely different light. He is no longer just the gentle and compassionate person. He is also the outraged and angry person. When he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves and the money changers sitting at their table, it became too much for him to bear. He made a whip and drove them out of the temple, poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. If our mental gallery of pictures of Jesus does not contain this picture of the outraged Jesus, then our gallery is not complete.

The Imitation of Christ

Why is it so important for us to have as complete an image of Jesus as possible? Well the reason is simply this:The imitation of Christ is still at the foundation of our spiritual lives. We are asked to model our life on the life of Jesus. Many of us frequently ask ourselves the question: What would Jesus do in this situation? We canít possibly answer that question unless we have a thorough grasp of who Jesus is. And that understanding
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