Third Sunday of Lent

[Exodus 20:1-17; 1Cor. 1: 22-25; John 2: 13-25]

The Gospel of John today recounts the story of Jesus ‘cleansing the temple’ and is filled with action: making a whip, overturning tables and scattering coins. Sounds like Jesus had a bad hair day or was overcharged (can’t we all relate to that!)?

Biblical scholars tell us that this story (which is just before the Passion in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke) is really a ‘symbolic action’, meaning an act intended to make a point not accomplish a task (meaning Jesus’ action was not about closing down the temple but pointing to something deeper). And what would that point be, you may ask? Well, it was not a condemnation of Jewish worship (after all Jesus was a Jew) but that the temple was about to be replaced by Himself. Jesus was to become the mediator between God and humanity, not the temple.

So what might this say to us in twenty-first century California? It could tell us a lot but let me offer a few thoughts. First, Lent reminds us about the centrality of Christ- He not only became human for us but exists now  to help, love and strengthen us. How central is Christ in our life and how often do we pray? Second, how often do we see money (central to the story of the ‘cleansing of the temple’) as the way to solve problems when often what is needed is patient listening, compassion and openness to another person. Finally, worship is not about expensive rosaries, elegant liturgies and magnificent choirs (though these are wonderful) but gratitude to God for His love and the gift of life. For it is the life we have that allows us to love, help heal others, assist the poor and lead others to God’s love. Perhaps we can reflect this week on what we are doing with our life: who are we helping, how often do we pray and how central is Christ is our lives?

Mission Doctor Association sends doctors around the world to protect and extend God’s gift of life to the poorest of the poor. Please help them through prayer and donations. Happy Lent!

Br. John Kiesler

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