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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 3rd (B) of Lent

1st Reading (Exod 20:1-17): In those days, God delivered all these commandments: «I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain.

»Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him».
Responsorial Psalm: 18
R/. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.
2nd Reading (1Cor 1:22-25): Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 3:16): God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
Gospel text (Jn 2,13-25): As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple court He found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money-changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, «Take all this away and stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!». His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: «Zeal for your House devours me as a fire».

The Jews then questioned Jesus, «Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?». And Jesus said, «Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up». The Jews then replied, «The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?». Actually, Jesus was referring to the temple of his body. Only when He had risen from the dead did his disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.

Jesus stayed in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival and many believed in his Name when they saw the miraculous signs He performed. But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all of them. He had no need of evidence about anyone for he himself knew what there was in each one.

«Stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!»

Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Today, when Easter is approaching, some unusual event has happened at the Temple. Jesus has driven the merchants and their animals out of the Temple court, has knocked over the tables of the money-changers and has ordered the people selling doves «take all this away and stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!» (Jn 2:16). And while the oxen and the sheep were stampeding across the esplanade, the disciples discovered a new aspect of Jesus’ soul: the zeal for his Father's House, the zeal for God's Temple.

The Temple of God becoming a market place! what a disgrace! They probably started with a few animals, a shepherd trying to sell some sheep, or an old woman who wanted to make a few coins by selling doves,… and the ball kept growing and growing. Stop, cried the Song of Songs' author: «Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom» (Song 2:15). But here, nobody could care less! The Temple esplanade was like a market on market day.

-I am a temple of God, too. If I do not watch, these little foxes, pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, avarice, forms of disguise selfishness often adopts, will sneak in and damage everything. This is why the Lord warns us: «What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch’!» (Mk 13:37).

Watch!, so that apathy does not invade our conscience: «Being incapable of acknowledging guilt is the most dangerous form of spiritually arrested development one can imagine, because this in particular makes people incapable of improvement» (Benedict XVI).

To stay vigilant? -I try to every night. Did I annoy someone?, are my intentions straightforward?, am I willing to fulfill always and in everything God's will?, have I assumed some practice that may displease our Lord? But, late at night I am too tired and sleepy to think…

-Jesus, you know me well, you know quite well what each man's mind is like, so make me realize my own faults, give me strength and a little bit of that zeal of yours so that I can also drive out from the temple all that might appear to separate me from you.

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