Feast Dedication of Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
I occasionally watch “Air Crash Investigations”. I don’t know why, but I find it pretty simple TV as I am winding down for the day.
On one occasion, they were looking at a particular accident, and one investigator commented, “Not all the evidence is at the crash scene.” And so they would investigate maintenance logs, pilot history and so on, as ways of determining what caused this accident.
I like that line, “Not all the evidence is at the crash scene”. I find it an educative way of looking at Gospel stories, and the parables, and thinking about “what are the choices that led to this situation?”.
Of course, we will not know all the answers. But we can look at the clues that we are given. We hear today that Jesus spoke in the Temple for several days. What set him off on this particular day? Why did Jesus use physical force, something he resorted to in no other recorded event in the Gospels?
What we do know is that this is no impetuous decision. It’s not mentioned in this account, but in John’s Gospel, he makes a whip out of cords. That would have taken some time. So this is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It was calculated, and pre-meditated.
We can’t know all the choices that led to Jesus making that decision. Still, on the basis of his ministry, it is fair to presume that Jesus is reacting fiercely to the politics, corruption, and hypocrisy of the Religious authorities of the time. What choices led the Religious and Church authorities to sell out on their ideals, vision, and mission? What are the choices that many religious leaders make today, perpetuating the same problem?
Is it possible that we can make other choices and decisions that lead us to a more full and fulfilling life
I find it liberating when we review our own life in this way. What are the choices we have made? We can determine the choices we make, not always good or correct, that lead us to this situation.
We can make then the choice to do things differently in the future. To do actions of value and meaning and towards Gospel-like ends.
Socrates is quoted as saying, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Today’s Gospel gives us this opportunity and encouragement to examine our lives, that we may do more, and be more.
Peter Gardiner is a Passionist Priest in Sydney. He is primarily involved in outreach ministries.