Jesus violently cleanses the Temple and curses the unfruitfulness of a fig tree to teach the Apostles faith. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he grow in awe of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and by building the Virtue of Magnificence so he can do the greatest work of bearing fruit for Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.

Liturgy

8th Week of Ordinary Time – Friday – Mk 11:11-26

Commentary

Jesus enters Jerusalem as a great King on Palm Sunday and finds the Temple full of corruption, as foretold 500 years earlier (Mal 3:1-2). After spending the night in Bethany, Jesus walks back to the Temple, is hungry, finds a fig tree barren of fruit, and curses it; He continues on without eating.

It was “big business” to provide animals for required sacrifice and exchange foreign currency for the Temple tax; many men profited and greedy priests even allowed the sacrilege of buying and selling inside the outer court of the Temple. Moved by righteous anger, Jesus, whip in hand, forcefully drives out the merchants and animals from the large outer court area (35 acres/26 football fields), rightfully calling them “robbers” (Jer 7:11). Jesus condemns the corruption of Israel for failing to offer worthy prayer (Is 56:7) and desecrating His Temple; the large crowds are “astonished”, but the corrupt Jewish leaders scheme to kill Jesus. 

On the return to Bethany, Peter sees the fig tree has miraculously withered “to the roots.” By cursing the barren fruit tree, Jesus mysteriously previews His judgment on those who fail to bear fruit and gives a prophetic sign that, due to the corruption of Israel, the Temple will be destroyed, a prophecy which comes to pass in A.D. 70. Preparing His disciples for coming persecution, Jesus exhorts them to have a strong faith, praying for God’s help and knowing that God will answer even seemingly impossible requests. He warns the disciples to approach God only after forgiving others to be certain of God’s forgiveness of the disciples’ sins. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be astounded by how Jesus violently clears the large Temple area (CCC 583-586): Son of the Father and Protector, Jesus is driven by Divine Justice (Vindication) to purge unholy sacrilege from His Father’s house; Jesus uses just Anger, Charisma and imposing physical Strength, despite not having eaten, to take Violent action to Frighten and clear out hundreds of cut-throat merchants and their animals.

Ask the Spirit for awe of Christ’s Real Presence

Realize: Tragically, in many parishes there is a sacrilegious and scandalous lack of awe and honor for Jesus in the Mass, because most Catholics do not believe His Real Presence actually resides in the Eucharist: casual or immodest dress, chatter before, during and after Mass, irreverent liturgies/music, casual or even damning reception of the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:27). 

Believe: Reflect upon Deep Reverence of the Eucharist (CCC 1384-1390, 1415, 1418, 2628), Sacrilege (CCC 2118, 2120, 2139), and Scandal (CCC 2284-2287, 2326).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I am guided by You to comprehend and be awed by the Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist and I have an overwhelming reverence for the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Be great by bearing fruit for Jesus

Realize: In the cursing of the fig tree, Jesus confirms the absolute necessity to bear fruit in one’s life and the eternal death that comes to those who are not fruitful in Charity; like the sudden death of the fig tree, a every Catholic men should consider how quickly death comes and to strive to be prepared for his own death. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Need for Fruitfulness in Charity (CCC 736, 961, 1007, 1108, 1129, 1521, 1724, 1804, 1852, 2074, 2731).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Magnificence (a part of Fortitude) so I persevere in the great and holy work of Charity and am strengthened to bear much fruit for Your Kingdom.