Third Sunday of Lent (Year B)

Ex 20:1-17(20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17); 1Cor 1:22-25; John 2:13-25

A parish priest visited one of the catechetical classes in public school in his parish. He noticed how good the students answered the question, ‘where does God live’ by one of his catechists. Here are some of their answers: That God is “in the Parish,” “in the tabernacle,” “in the whole world,” “everywhere” and even one student answered, “inside of me.”

Today’s gospel brings us in that particular incident in the life of Jesus by which it was Jesus driving the people or the sellers and moneychangers out of the temple.  He was angry because they made His Father’s house like a market place. But later on, He will be the one being driven out of the temple by His enemies, who will then destroy the temple of His body.

There are question that confront us today. Have we ever “turned our Father’s house or the Church into a market place?”

We have turned it into a marketplace if we make it as a cozy social club instead of Catholic action, or spiritual drive-in instead of a real community of love. On the other hand, have we ever driven the Lord out of the temple of our hearts? We have driven Him if we harbor grudges against someone, hate someone, judge them harshly, or ignored their cry for help. Fr. Lefrois, SVD, in his homily book, said that the heart of every Christian is a temple of God. The Blessed Trinity dwells in its inmost depth. God desires to receive prayerful homage and loving worship from the heart of each one of us whom He created and love so intensely. Yet how often that our hearts are clogged by evil habits and sins or cluttered up with all kinds of unworthy desires and worldly projects that are pagan rather than Christian. There are oppression of the poor, dishonesty in business, greed of gain, shady dealings with the unscrupulous, cold treatment of neighbors, servants and relatives. The heart of man needs cleansing, a healing and a renovation. It needs to be transformed into the image of God as it is destined to be.

Therefore, this house of God could be like that of what the children in catechism class answered: it is the parish church, the tabernacle, ‘inside of me’ and so on.

A priest said beautifully in his homily that the Parish church is a house of God because in it is the tabernacle where the Body and Blood of Christ are being kept under the appearance of the sacred host and wine. Our parish church is not only the house of God; it is also the assembly for people who are celebrating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

The parish church, even chapels, is the seat of God’s Eucharistic Presence. This visible building is like a sign, a memorial of the presence of God in our midst and as we all know that this church is a place of prayer and worship; not a dating place for two lovers, a drinking place, a disco house or a conference hall. One important element for good prayer and worship is silence. To pray devoutly and worship sincerely, concentration is needed and therefore we need silence.

But this is not the only meaning of what the house of God meant. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said: “Surely you know that you are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in you! So if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are His temple” (1Cor 3:16-17).

In other words, we are the temple of God; His own house. Therefore, this house of God could be like that of what the children in catechism class answered: it is the parish church, the tabernacle, ‘inside of me’ and so on. So, we have the obligation to preserve our health and our life. It implies cleanliness, temperance, industry and the use of remedies during sickness.

There are so many sins that are against God and His temple which is our body. Suicide is one because he who commits suicide sins against himself by exposing himself to being into hell; and he sins against his family because he let them bear the shame and lack of his support.

Drunkenness is still a sin against our body and God because it injures health. It is a form of slow suicide; drunkards do not live long and on the process he neglects the support of his family and his obligation. It is an example of scandal in public and has promoted fights and even murder. It leads to other sins, destruction of life, limb and property.

Much worse is the serious injury to our body and mental health brought about by drug addiction and sexual immorality. St. Paul says” “Do not fool yourselves: people who are immoral…are adulterers or homosexual perverts…or are drunkards – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom…” (1Cor 6:9-10, 18-20).

There are other sins which are against our body too like: direct sterilization by vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women, it is degradation of human life. One more sin is indecency in attire. The popularly known as “Sunday dress is outdated already. One’s sanctity and God’s house demand that, we should dress up properly and decently to attend church functions.

So, while there is still time left in cleaning ourselves this Lent, may we listen to our Lord more with our hearts than with our ears, lest we miss the meaning He intends for us today.

See Today’s Readings:  Year A,   Year B,   Year C

Back to: Third Sunday of Lent (Year B)

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