Jesus With a Whip
When you think of cleaning house, I don’t suppose the image of a whip comes to mind. Is there anything in your life that needs to be shown the exit, or “driven out”? Lent is a good time for some house cleaning. Lent is a good time for some “soul” cleaning too. Our bodies are, after all, temples of the Holy Spirit and occasionally we cleanse those as well. Yes, Lent is a good time for house cleaning and soul cleaning.
One Lenten practice that I recently read about on Facebook suggested that we find a huge bag. On each day of Lent, we choose one item to discard, to part with. At the end of Lent we donate the bag to charity. This is an attempt to simplify, to “tidy up”, to part with things that clutter. In a way, separating ourselves from possessions leaves us more open for something new—a new spirit, a new heart, a new valuing of time with God.
Pope Francis tells us that Jesus does not cleanse our souls with whips.
Do you know what kind of whip Jesus uses to cleanse our soul? Mercy. Open your heart to Jesus’ mercy! Say: “Jesus, look how much filth! Come, cleanse. Cleanse with your mercy, with your tender words, cleanse with your caresses.” If we open our heart to Jesus’ mercy, in order to cleanse our heart, our soul, Jesus will trust Himself to us.
Homily of His Holiness, Pope Francis, Third Sunday of Lent, 8 March 2015
In the last two weeks, some of our candidates have experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Several of them have described the experience as a cleansing, a freedom that comes from God’s mercy. They felt the unburdening. They embraced God’s mercy in listening to the priest’s tender words of encouragement and in many cases hugged someone. God’s mercy lives in our temples, in our houses, and in our souls.