Third Sunday of Lent

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cleanses the temple of human greed and manipulation of the poor. He proposes a new temple centered in the Father’s wisdom and the power of the Spirit — a temple completely dedicated to God. That we may be temples of God’s holiness.

  • To the point: What a mess Jesus made! He spilled coins, overturned tables and even destroyed the most important institution in all of Israel —t he temple as God’s dwelling place. He declared that the place of God’s presence among people was no longer a building but the “temple of his body.” This “temple of his body” would be destroyed by enemies but then raised up to new life dwell­ing among us — and within us who are now the Body of Christ. What a new creation God made!
  • Connecting the Gospel (John 2:13-25) to the second reading: Only the power of God could build a new and permanent temple — the risen Body of Christ. We proclaim Christ crucified because in the seeming foolishness of his death we know the wisdom and strength of the God of life.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Jesus destroyed exaggerated emphasis on the religious structures of Israel. Today do we ourselves still look for God too much only in religious structures — church buildings, formal worship services, traditional prayers and laws? If Christ destroyed all this, would there be faith and life left?

Centering prayers

The Gospel 

(John 2: 13-25)

“Take these out of here and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

“Take these out of here!” This you told the sellers of doves.
Then what space shall we reserve in your Father’s house, Jesus?
More room for love of God and our neighbor?
for all the world’s suffering to make it all well?
Show us how. We see the signs that you do this very day.
Help us trust in your love.
Let all of us, brothers and sisters, come together
in the temple of your body and learn how to care for each other.

The First Reading

(Exodus 20: 1-17)

In those days, God delivered these commandments.

Carve them here, O God, into our stony hearts
rules to guide us — love God, and love our neighbor:
cure the sick, feed the hungry, free the ones in prison,
heal the planet. Help us to love you as you love us,
and to love our neighbor as ourselves,
every day, in every way in all we do and in all we say.

The Second Reading

(I Corinthians 1: 22-25)

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

One sign only: Christ crucified. We trust the nonsense of God.
And to the mirage of worldly might we say, make us weak.
Give us the power only of your cross.

Copyright © 2024, Anne M. Osdieck.

For reflection