Third Sunday of Lent

Sunday March 4, 2018
Third Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 29

Reading from the Gospel according to John
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.

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Third Sunday of Lent

The Temple was built as a house where God’s glory would dwell in the midst of his people. The buyers and sellers of offerings had compromise the sacredness of the Temple. Jesus’ zeal to restore its sacredness leads him to clear the Temple.

But this parable-in-action had a deeper meaning, as his disciples understood later.

When the Jews asked for a sign for why he had acted this way, Jesus responded: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews thought he was talking foolishly. Later on, the disciples understood that Jesus was talking about the temple of his own body. Jesus is the sacred place where God’s glory dwells in the midst of his people.

After the disciples experienced the tragic death of Jesus on the Cross and became witnesses to his resurrected body three days later, and the Holy Spirit had come upon them and filled their minds and hearts with light, they were able to look back at all they had experienced with Jesus in a new light. They began to understand that they were now part of the Body of Christ – the continuation of the sacred place where God’s glory remained in the midst of his people. As they preached Jesus Christ crucified and raised, they experienced the power and wisdom of God at work in Jesus’ name. Some people who heard them found a crucified Savior to be a stumbling block; others thought it utter foolishness. Still many others accepted it as saving grace.

You and I are among those who have accepted saving grace. We have been incorporated into the Body of Christ by our baptism. As Church community, we are to be the sacred dwelling place of God in our world. And each of us has been taught to reverence our body as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Hearing the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple is a good Lenten reminder to us individually and as a community. Am I keeping the temple of my body sacred?

What kind of effort do I make to keep the community (both Oblate and Church) sacred? Is Jesus inviting me to a cleansing in some way?

Lord Jesus, you are the power and wisdom of God. Open each of us to the cleansing you want to do in your temple during this Lent.