Call to worship

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 modeled on Jesus’ life fully dedicated to God. Lent is our time to refashion our lives 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 — the 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.
For what shall we make room  in your Father’s house, Jesus?
More room for love of God and our neighbor?
See all the world’s suffering and make it all well?
Show us how. We see the signs that you are
doing 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 imprisoned, 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
to the mirage of worldly might,
we say, make us weak. Give us the power
only of your cross.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection