So much happens in today's Gospel! The fig tree is cursed and withered, the money changers and dove sellers are driven out of the temple, and Jesus instructs His disciples that faith will dump mountains into the sea. Oh, yes, and at the end, He tells them to forgive their grievances before asking the Father for something in prayer. In essence, a typical day with Jesus? (Mark 11:11-26)
I slammed the van door shut after buckling three kids in, reminding a fourth to immediately stop picking his nose and put his book down before he forgot to put his seat belt on, and clenched my keys into my fist. Deeply. I steadied myself against my winter-filthy car and sniffed and sniffed.
It wasn't that winter had gone on and on for months upon months. It wasn't even that my early mornings were a cycling of small children in and out of our bed, reassuring them there were no monsters, pleading with them not to wake the fitful baby, bribing them with thin promises of hot cocoa if they just slept another hour or three. It wasn't that dinners blurred from one mac and cheese pot to another frozen peas and carrot mix, or that none of my post-postpartum pants fit, eighteen months later.
Jesus knew human nature. It wasn't that.
But days in and out, these children carry their grievances to me, their pointed injustices. Turns taken out of turn. Snacks snatched. Pillow forts smushed. They are children, after all, and I forget that sometimes. I think of how the worshippers in the temple may have complained to the left and the right—those clanging money changers, those pooping doves. I think of how I pray for this and that, complain of those to my left and my right to God the Father. Maybe Jesus wants us to face each other in our failings. Maybe we deal with one another with a firm, honest love, first. "Let your love for one another be intense." (1 Peter 4:8) Then we turn to Him and pray.
Who are you avoiding? With whom are you upset? Face it today. Be brave and honest. Take care of it and then turn to Our Father in prayer.
Nell O'Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a iced chai tea latte in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of the Blessed Conversations Series.