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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Third Sunday of Lent (B)
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): 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.

“Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés (Tarragona, Spain)

Today, as Easter approaches, an unusual event has occurred in the temple. Jesus has driven out the merchants' cattle, overturned the tables of the money changers, and said to the dove sellers, " Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace" (Jn 2:16). And while the oxen and sheep scattered through the courtyard, the disciples discovered a new aspect of Jesus's personality: the zeal for His Father's house, the zeal for the temple of God.

The temple of God turned into a marketplace! How outrageous! It must have started with something small. A shepherd coming up to sell a lamb, an elderly woman wanting to earn some money by selling doves..., and it grew from there. So much so that the author of the Song of Songs cried out, "Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom! " (Song 2:15). But who paid any attention? The temple courtyard resembled a day at the fair.

I too am a temple of God. If I do not watch out for the little foxes —pride, laziness, gluttony, envy, stinginess, so many disguises of selfishness— they sneak in and spoil everything. Therefore, the Lord warns us, "What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’" (Mk 13:37).

Let us be vigilant, so that sloth does not invade our conscience: "The inability to recognize guilt is the most dangerous form of spiritual dullness imaginable, because it makes people incapable of improvement" (Benedict XVI).

To watch? - I try to do it every night. Have I offended anyone? Are my intentions upright? Am I willing to always and in everything do God's will? Have I formed any kind of habit that displeases the Lord? But at this hour, I am tired and sleep overtakes me.

Jesus, you who know me thoroughly, you who know well what is inside the heart of each person; make me aware of my faults, give me strength and a share of this zeal of yours so that I may cast out of the temple everything that separates me from you.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Christ shed his blood in the sight of the world, a temple fashioned by the hand of God alone. This temple, however, has two parts. The first is the earth, which we now inhabit. The second is as yet unknown to us mortals.” (Saint John Fisher)

  • “Jesus, do You trust me? I want You to trust me. Thus I open the door to You, and You cleanse my soul. Ask the Lord that, as He went to cleanse the Temple, He may come to cleanse your soul.” (Francis)

  • “Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce (Mt 21:13.). He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: ‘You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me''. After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº584)