Posted on Mar 6, 2021

7 March 2021

Earlier one Lent, a man came to me that I knew quite well.

            He said: “I need conversion—really a revolution in my life

            Something to clean my life out to turn it around.

            I need it, I want it, but I am afraid of it.”

Frankly, I didn’t know what to say to that man

I’ve known to be a gentle and kind man.

He had always seemed to me to have gone through the conversion process.

Yet I didn’t doubt his need for conversion.

The heart has deep and secret recesses.

For those of us who both dislike lent for the disparity it shows up in our lives between what we say

we believe and what we actually live out, and yet who long for some sort of conversion

even though we fear it, today’s Gospel is not a great comfort.

Jesus today is not meek and mild, gentle and compassionate.

Today he is about as angry, belligerent, and single-mindedly radical as you can get.

Even the temple is not safe from his tirade.

He is angry at the double standard kept by the money changers and animal sellers who are after all only doing their part to contribute to the process of temple worship.

I’ve always wondered if the real source of Jesus’ anger is that he knows in himself,

The distance between what we say we believe and what we do.

After all this is the same Jesus who will delay his coming to the sick Lazarus

because he fears for his own life.

Maybe it is just possible that Jesus himself underwent conversion, that long and difficult process.  He converted in theological terms from “Jesus” to the “Christ.”

And the road of conversion for Jesus was a long and difficult and fearful as it is for any of us.  He was not through with it in the garden at Gethsemene.

For those of us who look for the renewal of our faith this lent, know that this renewal will not come without its pain of ours, but that this pain of ours will bring us to new life in the Lord.