March 8, 2015

3rd Sun. of Lent

March 8, 2015:  Third Sunday of Lent

See 12 connections with today's readings
and celebration?  Legend below


Jesus' expulsion of the merchants from the temple appeared as a prophetic gesture, so some asked:  “What sign can you show?”  Who are you to do this?  It's the first proclamation of the death and resurrection of Christ:  his risen body will be the universal meeting place between God and people.  His humanity is the temple where God is revealed and encountered; and true worshippers worship God “in spirit and truth.”
Let us travel as Jesus did, making our existence a sign of love, especially of the weakest and poorest, and building for God a temple of our lives.  If we're witnesses of Christ, many will encounter Jesus though us.  Does the Lord feel at home in my life?  Do I allow Him to cleanse my heart and drive out idols, jealousy, worldliness, hatred, and gossip?  Do I allow him to cleanse behaviors against God, neighbor, and self?  Jesus cleanses with tenderness, mercy, and love.  Allow the Lord to enter with mercy to cleanse you.
Every Eucharist makes us grow as a living temple of the Lord.  Jesus recognizes our desire to be inhabited by him alone.  Let him enter your life, your family, your heart.  May we rediscover, with the help of Mary, privileged dwelling place of Jesus, the beauty of the encounter with Christ, the One who frees and saves us.
  • Ex 20:1-17  God delivered these commandments:  “I brought you out of Egypt.  Don't have other gods.  Don't take the Lord's name in vain.  Keep holy the sabbath day.  Honor your father and your mother.  Don't kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, covet your neighbor’s house, wife, slave, or property.”
  • Ps 19:8-11  "Lord, you have the words of everlasting life."  The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, just, precious, and sweet.
  • 1 Cor 1:22-25   We proclaim Christ crucified, God's power and wisdom.  God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
  • Jn 2:13-25  Jesus found in the temple area money changers, and people selling oxen, sheep, and doves.  With a whip he drove them out, spilled the coins, and overturned the tables:  “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”  Jews / Jesus:  “What sign can you show?” / “Destroy this temple and in 3 days I'll raise it up.” / “It's been under construction 46 years!”  But he was speaking about the temple of his body.  When he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered this....
    • Creighton:  Jesus knew Is 58, that sacrifices alone don't win God's favor.  Today Jesus overturns the business of offering sacrifice.  Jesus is the one and only sacrifice.  / Where I'm distracted, self-absorbed, or rebellious, I need to turn back to God.  To gain freedom to coopeate with and respond to God's grace, I ask, "Where and how am I not cooperating, am I resisting God's gift?"
    • Passionist:  The message of the Cross is the basis of our Christian faith, but when there's a crisis God doesn't fix to our liking, we can say, "If there's a God, how can he allow this?"  It seemed absurd to early Christians, but it's wise to those who've experienced the power of the cross.
      Christ cleansing the temple/ El Greco
    •  The temple was seen as God's dwelling place among people. Jesus' cleansing of the temple is a sign that he wants to cleanse each of us to make us into living temples of his Spirit.  Malachi foretold the Lord would come to his Temple to "purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold."  Jesus' disciples recalled:  "Zeal for your house consumes me," a psalm understood as a Messianic prophecy; the disciples saw Jesus as the Messiah burning with zeal.  Jewish leaders demanded a divine sign, or else they'd treat him as an imposter and usurper of their authority.  Jesus spoke of himself as the true Temple; the sign he gave pointed to his death and resurrection: "Destroy this temple, and in 3 days I'll raise it up."  The Jews didn't understand he was referring to his own body.  The Lord Jesus makes us temples of the Spirit.  Recognize God within through the gift and work of the Spirit.
    • Saints, thanks to Universalis (though the Lent Sunday celebration trumps theirs):
      • Senan, bishop, apostle of Ireland, monastery founder; see Clare Library's article.
    Apparel legend
    • 'Commandments' tie:  God delivered the commandments (1st reading)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  The Lord's precepts rejoice the heart (psalm)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  The Lord's command enlightens the eye (psalm)
    • Gold-colored accessories:  The Lord's ordinances are more precious than gold... (psalm)
    • "Bees' knees" button:  ...sweeter than honey (psalm)
    • Crucifix pin: We proclaim Christ crucified... (2nd reading)
    • 'Wood block' tie pin:  ...a stumbling block to Jews... (2nd reading)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  ...but to the called, Christ the power and wisdom of God  (2nd reading)
    • 'Car' tie pin:  Jesus 'drove' the merchants and money changers out of the temple... (gospel)
    • 'Coin' button:  ...and spilled their coins (gospel)
    • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Lenten season

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