THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT –B“ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME”
The temple of Jerusalem was always the focal point of Jewish worship. Many other people used to visit and worship the Lord God. It was the house of reconciliation and self offering, turned into a business centre.
Exodus 20:1-17—The 10 commandments are addressed personally to every individual though given through Moses. No individual is a slave but free person. The commandments are instructions on how to live in the presence of a loving and faithful God. It is inspiring us to say “the way” which leads us to God.
“I have brought you out of the land of slavery” (Ex 20:2). This is the foundational statement of the new life and commandments are identity of the people of Israel. It invites them to dedicate themselves totally and experience God who talks to them in his house. If Israel is to be his own possession, Yahweh must be their own God. Lest the pagans or foreign culture can distract or tempt them to immoral life. The commandments teach us God’s infinite love—divine relationship and love of neighbor.
Resp Ps 19—The psalm expresses God’s glory in creation and in the Law. The psalmist treasures expressions of God’s will. Your reverence toward God makes you to eat the scroll that fills your heart and mind and your words will be sweeter to the people. Your words will enlighten the people.
We fail to listen to the clear message of the heavens and we fail to obey the law. The psalmist acknowledges God as the only one on whom he can rely and as the only one capable of redeeming us. Lord God your words are more precious than gold. Speak to us.
John 2:13-25—This passage deals with cleansing of the temple—the heart.
As Jesus entered the temple to worship, instruct and to heal the sick, surprisingly he found it as business centre. It was introduced by the high priest Caiaphas and was protected by the temple guards. Jesus reacts to it violently and cleanses the temple instantly, thus manifesting his power and authority as the Son of God.
God speaks to the heart and touches the mind for constructive actions. Heart is God’s home and it is the seat of sentiments. Only the heart knows how to find what is precious. If the heart is disturbed, Jesus purifies and sanctifies, provided we are open.
When the Jews question Jesus’ authority, he points to his own resurrection as a sure sign of it. Though the Jewish priests did not understand building the temple in three days, the disciples understood after Jesus’ resurrection.
God’s home is a place of worship, self offering, self-renewing and listening to him. It demands interior silence. Jesus transforms the business centre into the home of God where people may experience his presence.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25—Paul says “Christ is the power and the wisdom of God.” This is a very powerful theological statement that demands scriptural and patristic explanation. But we limit only to the use of power.
Jesus is not Herod who misused the power to kill a great prophet (John the Baptist—Mt 14:9-11), nor a High Priest who transforms a worshipping centre into business centre but uses his power to transform or transfigure us. Jesus’ power is to open our hearts, our eyes and lead us from darkness into his wonderful light. One of the qualities of wisdom is to teach. His power is to forgive and teaches us to reconcile with God and people. His power is to become the way, the truth and life (Jn 14:6).
Lenten season invites us to repent, reflect, reconcile, to listen and to share. It is the time to build our divine relationship and adjust our spiritual and social lives. Meditate on the Paschal Mystery and reflect on the power and wisdom of the Cross. Keep the door of your heart open, for him cleanse and stay.
Fr Peter Swamy Smm