THIS is what we can learn from that gospel episode of Christ driving those who converted the temple into a market place (cfr. Jn 2,13-25), which is the gospel reading for the Mass of the 3rd Sunday of Lent. We need to develop this zeal because otherwise our heart can only be captured by earthly things that in the end would lead us nowhere.

With respect to the things of God, be they churches, liturgical items, sacred books, sacraments, means of formation, etc., we should see to it that there is that constant zeal that would let us consider them as our real treasures. Anything that would undermine these things should stir in us some passionate reaction to defend, protect and uphold them.

We should be wary of that common tendency of ours to be just casual about the things of God. Christ himself warned us about this danger when in that gospel cited above, he said, referring to those who claimed they believed in him, that he did not believe them.

“But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature,” says the gospel. He was referring, of course, to the fickleness of our human condition. Thus, we should be wary of this fact of life and do our best to do something about it.

Indeed, we need to exert effort, we need to educate our feelings and emotions, training them to consider the things of God to be our most precious treasure, for which we should be willing to sacrifice everything else when necessary.

In our relation with God and the things directly related to him, we have to involve not only our spiritual faculties but also the basic element of our humanity which are our feelings, our emotions and passions.

Our Catechism tells us that our emotions and passions are “movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil.” (1763).

As such, we can say that our emotions and passions play an important and crucial role in our life. And that’s why we have to take pains in forming them well. We just cannot be complacent with this responsibility.

In fact, the Catechism tells us that our emotions and passions are “natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of mind.” (1764)

Our emotions and passions therefore serve as a link between our body and soul. They are where we materialize what is spiritual in us, and spiritualize what is material in us. As such, they create a rich texture in our lives. They create the consistency proper to us as a person and as a child of God. They also help to give focus on our judgments, modulate our will, and add sensitivity to our reasoning.

In other words, they play a decisive role in achieving a happy and fully human life. They contribute to achieving the full potentials of our humanity. But given the wounded condition of man, our emotions and passions need to be purified and thoroughly educated.

They should not be allowed to just develop at the instance of our hormones and instincts, for example, and the many other blind or short-sighted impulses and trends in our social, cultural, economic, or political environment. They need to be reined in, to be guided and given direction.