Who could pretend he or she knows what it takes to produce a movie? We enjoy, we judge, we like or dislike, but who really knows what it takes to produce it?

Every sequence of the Gospel is like a movie. We hear the words, but behind the words, there is so much more to unveil, to discover, to comprehend, to ponder.

Everyone’s life is also a mystery. There is so much behind the curtain that we do not show, that others cannot see, cannot guess, cannot know.

In today’s gospel, Jesus performs a protest action: He unveils what is going on behind the curtains. God’s temple has become a marketplace, thanks to the complicity of the High Priest and the temple guards. They had good intentions, their good reasons to facilitate the people who desired to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. They could find all they needed right there, in one place. But behind this good intention, the High Priest and the Temple priests were making money undercover. Did you know that Caiaphas will be
caught, accused of theft, and sent to Rome to be judged and condemned, but that he died on the trip?

Who knows what is going on behind the curtains? We would be surprised to know how some people make their money. Very often, it could be tinted with blood. Think about the firearms sold to third-world countries, that go into the hands of gangs and criminals and are used to kill innocent people, sometimes little children. What about the poor adolescents and children too, sold for prostitution and guys with big money, going to secret places to enjoy themselves?

Long ago, the prophet Amos wrote about what some people were doing behind the curtains when he declared:  ”You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph” (Amos, 6, 1-7).

There is so much more behind the curtains than what we can perceive. We too are God’s temple. But, think about the way we deal with our bodies. Some think it is theirs to do whatever they wish. St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians writes; “You must kill in you everything that belongs only to our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col, 3,5).

Behind the curtains, God knows what can be going on. When we are in God’s Temple, the Church for Mass, or other services, only ourselves can tell what is going on. Sometimes we are alert, sometimes we are lost in so many other things. We call these moments distractions. Many times we are in the Church, but our minds are somewhere else. At these moments, someone is happy, the evil one, because he knows we will leave without hearing the message, and then leave the same way we came in.

Behind the curtains. What happens when we are out of the Church, at home, at work, with our neighbors, or wherever we are? Do we still behave as the Lord’s members, trying to live lives pleasing to Him so as to edify those who are watching us?

Maybe we should memorize this prayer and say it often: “Father, author of every mercy and of all goodness, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Fr. Danis Ridore