third Sunday of Lent
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
cf. Lk 6:45
Today, on this third Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading we hear in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass tells the story of Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem Temple. As we enter the third week of Lent, we are reminded to make room for God in our lives. We are invited to reflect: Do I make room for God each day? Am I bold enough to invite Jesus to cleanse my heart that I may be a temple, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, fit for the living God? Let us continue our Lenten journey; let us open our hearts to Jesus and ask him to cleanse us as he did the temple in Jerusalem, removing all that must be cleared and cleaned; not only that we may have room for God in our lives, but that God truly becomes the center of my life, where all else moves in relation to the center. As Catholics we are invited this Lent to return to meet Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession. It is here where Jesus is waiting - acting in and through the priest, in persona Christi - to give us his sacrament of healing, helping us to be reconciled, healed. It is in and through the sacramental life, administered by Jesus through his Church that we're invited to participate to become who God wills us to be. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the cleansing of our temple that we may be made ready to receive Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist - thanks be to God! Be not afraid! Jesus is waiting for you when you find nothing else in this world satisfies you. For a Gospel reflection of Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem Temple please enjoy below. Peace be with you! From the Author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog
LISTEN: This is my beloved Son.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 2:13-25
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
The Gospel of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today we read an episode recorded in all four Gospels—namely, Jesus’ paradigmatically prophetic act of cleansing the temple.
Jesus is prophetic to the depth of his being, and his prophetic vocation will manifest itself in all of his speech, gestures, and actions. This entails that his confrontation with fallen powers and dysfunctional traditions will be highly focused, intense, and disruptive.
Standing at the heart of the holy city of Jerusalem, the temple was the political, economic, cultural, and religious center of the nation. Turning over the tables of the money-changers and driving out the merchants, shouting in high dudgeon, upsetting the order of that place was to strike at the most sacred institution of the culture, the unassailable embodiment of the tradition. It was to show oneself as critic in the most radical and surprising sense possible. That this act of Jesus the warrior flowed from the depth of his prophetic identity is witnessed to by the author of John’s Gospel: “His disciples recalled the words of scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Many of the historical critics of the New Testament hold that this event—shocking, unprecedented, perverse—is what finally persuaded the leaders that Jesus merited execution.
Reflect: Have you ever had to confront “fallen powers and dysfunctional traditions” as Jesus did in the temple? What happened and how did you respond?
Credit: Daily Lenten Gospel Reflections, Bishop Robert Barron, March 7, 2021; Word on Fire, https://www.wordonfire.org. Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
Saint John Chrysostom
reflection on the painting
by Patrick van der Vorst
In our painting, El Greco masterfully depicts an angry Christ driving the moneychangers from the Temple. An uncommon theme in Medieval and early Renaissance times, it became increasingly popular from the mid 16th century onwards after the Council of Trent (1546-1563), as being symbolic of the Catholic Church attempting to purify itself after the Protestant Reformation. Bare-chested men and scantily clad ladies exaggerate the irreverence of what is going on in the Temple and the crowds are seen escaping the blows of Christ’s scourge.
Much of the purpose of the Temple as a holy sanctuary had been lost in Jesus’ time. The Temple in Jerusalem had become the centre not just of official worship but of a thriving commerce which Jesus wanted to address. It was the poor who were being exploited through the sale of sacrificial doves which they had to buy in order to be good worshippers (see the doves on the bottom left of our painting). The Temple was the place of civil and religious power, so for Jesus to react so strongly was not a coincidence. Jesus targeted corruption at the very heart of society, as the Temple was at the very heart of Jewish life.
Jesus cleansed the Temple because the corruption and sinful activities going on there were all distracting from proper worship taking place. Thus the reading today during Lent also prompts us to cleanse the temple of our own hearts and souls, in order to improve proper worship to God.
Credit: Patrick van der Vorst, Gospel Reading for Today, Christian Art, "Christ driving the money changers from the Temple," March 7, 2021; https://www.christian.art/todays-reading.php Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Saint Jerome (ca. 347 – 420 A.D.), Father and Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Word Incarnate, help me to know you.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.