Saturday, March 07, 2015
March 8, 2015 - 3rd SUNDAY OF LENT
March 8, 2015 - 3rd SUNDAY OF LENT
Cycle B, Violet
Ex 20:1-17 / 1 Cor 1:22-25 / Jn 2: 13-25
First Reading: Ex 20:1-17
God spoke all these words. He said, "I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Do not have other gods before me. Do not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God; for the sin of the fathers, when they rebel against me, I punish the sons, the grandsons and the great-grandsons; but I show steadfast love until the thousandth generation for those who love me and keep my commandments.
Do not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who takes his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you will labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for Yahweh your God. Do not work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals, nor the stranger who is staying with you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Honor your father and your mother that you may have a long life in the land that Yahweh has given you.
Do not kill.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not give false witness against your neighbor.
Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his."
Second Reading: 1 Cor 1:22-25
The Jews ask for miracles and the Greeks for a higher knowledge, while we proclaim a crucified Messiah. For the Jews, what a great scandal! And for the Greeks, what nonsense! But he is Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God for those called by God among both Jews and Greeks.
In reality, the "foolishness" of God is wiser than humans, and the "weakness" of God is stronger than humans.
Gospel: Jn 2:13-24 25
As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court he found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and moneychangers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove them out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, "Take all this away and stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!"
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: "Zeal for your House devours me as a fire." The Jews then questioned Jesus, "Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?" And Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then replied, "The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?"
Actually Jesus was referring to the temple of his body. Only when he had risen from the dead did his disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.
Jesus stayed in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival and many believed in his Name when they saw the miraculous signs he performed. But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all of them. He had no need of evidence about anyone for he himself knew what there was in each one.
What we see in today's Gospel scene is unsettling. Jesus is angry - - and this happens in the Temple. He makes a whip of cords and strongly rebukes the money changers and the sellers of sacrificial offerings. He drives them away, scattering their coins and overturning their tables.
But what makes Jesus angry? Those familiar with the context of those times tell us that the vendors in the temple area overcharged the people. Jesus was reacting against the rampant dishonesty and exploitation, particularly of the poorer worshippers. People had to offer the right kind of animals and money; inspectors examined them, for a fee.
And with all the pilgrims and visitors, the vendors and the animals, the haggling, shouting and the trash, the Temple area was anything but not a holy place: "Take all this away and stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!"
Not only the practices had gotten out of hand; many other things had become out of place. Does this sound familiar?
As we celebrate the season of Lent, let us allow the Temple scene in today's Gospel reading to speak to us. We have to honestly look into ourselves and see what we have done with God's temple, the sacred ground that is ourselves and our lives. What have been our excesses? What personal habits have gotten out of hand? What familiar practices have become out of place?
Lent is a season to reflect on ourselves. It is a good time to cleanse our own temples. It is an excellent opportunity to sweep away our attachments, overturn our self-seeking tendencies and drive out our wicked ways. Jesus invites us to "consecrate" ourselves, that is, to set ourselves apart for God and bring many lost and missing things back in their proper places. He wants us to be holy as he and his heavenly Father are holy. We need both humility and courage to hear his words as he shows us areas in ourselves which need to be more god-ly.
Today, we thank and bless the Lord by prayerfully and lovingly repeating this prayer and blessing for ourselves: "This is the temple of the Lord, holy ground. This is the temple of the Lord, holy ground."
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
MARC ADRIAN LIHAN
IN MEMORIAM (+)
FRANCISCO T. ONG
EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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