3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B – Homily

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 12 (John 6:68c)
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25
March 3, 2024

At times, Paul tells us that as Christians we are not under the Law.  Rather, we are under the Spirit.  This does not mean that we get rid of the Law. 

The Law was given by God.  Thus, as Psalm 19 says, “the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.” 

Paul tells us that “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”  Jesus loving act of giving his life for us on the Cross reveals God’s absolute love for us.  Because of his love for us, we can count on his wisdom. 

Jesus himself observed the Law as demonstrated by his going to Jerusalem for the Passover. 

As Psalm 19 also says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.

The Ten Commandments are not just a bunch of rules.  They are a way of life (see my presentation, Are They Rules or a Way of Life?). 

We can use the Ten Commandments to examine our conscience.  Are we living as God asks of us?

The First Commandment to have no other gods calls us to ask if God is our greatest priority or is there something else that is more important to us.  Sports?  Money?  Career?

The Third Commandment to keep holy the sabbath day calls us to ask if Sunday a day for the Lord for us or do we spend the day doing something else?  Do our actions make other people work without real need on the Sabbath?

The Seventh Commandment says, “You shall not steal.”  Do we use pirated software or illegally download music or videos without paying for it, robbing the composer of their rightful pay?

The Eighth Commandment calls us to tell the truth?  Do we gossip?

Just as we are called to individually examine our consciences, we need to collectively look at how society is doing.  I am not encouraged by what I see.  When we are so fortunate to have a secular court declare that “embryos are children,” many fail to see the significance of this decision (see my blog article, “There is Hope in Alabama”).

How are we doing as a church?

In today’s gospel, Jesus goes to the temple for the Passover.  What does He find there?  He finds people selling oxen, sheep, and doves as well as finding money changers there.  What are they doing in the temple area?

People went to the temple to offer sacrifice.  Theoretically, the money changers are there to exchange currency for those who come with coins of other nations.  The oxen, sheep, doves are there to be purchased to offer as sacrifice.

On the surface, this might seem convenient.  We may think what is “convenient” is “good” but the problem is they have made our Father’s house a marketplace.

This should lead us to think about how our two parishes are doing.  We have been surviving for a long time but is just “surviving” enough?

Jesus did not tell us disciples to maintain what He had started.  It is not enough just to maintain.  Jesus told them, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Jesus has given us a mission to share the gospel.  Our mission as a parish starts with us allowing ourselves to be transformed by the gospel. As, not after, we are transformed, we must take the gospel out to those who don’t come to church.  It’s what Jesus asks of us

It starts with seeing ourselves as temples of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said to the people in the temple area, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.

They thought He meant the temple building.  In that thinking, it would seem impossible to rebuild it in three days.  “But he was speaking about the temple of his body.” 

When we see our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, then we will observe all that the Lord has commanded us (see Matthew 28:20) and teach those we see outside the church to do the same.  We need to do it as individuals and together as a community of believers. As we make the effort, remember Jesus’ words, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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