The Bishop’s Homily – 3rd Sunday Of Lent 2018

3rd Sunday Of Lent
Cycle B | 04/03/18
Exod. 20: 1-17
I Cor. 1: 22-25
Jn. 2: 13-25

INTRODUCTION: Our Gospel for today is Jesus’ Cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. That exactly is the job description of what Jesus is as the Messiah or as the Christ.

(1) The Temple for Old Testament Jews is everything. It was the economic, political, and religious center of life. More even than this, it was seen as the very dwelling place of God on earth. Though the whole earth belongs to the Lord, he has chosen Zion as his special dwelling place. “Here have I chosen to dwell,” says the Psalm. The Temple is where heaven and earth met, where the Garden of Eden was re-established, where the harmony between divinity and humanity was achieved. That is what the Temple is supposed to be. But the Prophets reminded the Nation constantly that the Temple has been corrupted and perverted. It was the place where false gods were worshipped. How beautiful the Temple was but how compromised! That is why one of the great messianic expectations was that he would cleanse and purify the Temple. That is our Gospel reading for today — the Messiah who is trying to bring the Temple again to be a place of right worship.

(2) St. Paul, when he was still Saul of Tarsus, who knew exactly what the Temple is and where he spent long hours learning the traditions of his forefathers, told his Christians that their body is the Temple of the Spirit. The true dwelling place of God is now no longer a building in Jerusalem but in the very bodies of the followers of Jesus. That is why Paul says in Rom. 12: 1 “I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship.” Now combine this idea of Paul about the body being the Temple of the Spirit with the image of Jesus cleansing the Temple and you get a nice Lenten meditation. Every aspect of your life is meant to be a sacrifice unto the Lord: your mind, your life, everything even your sexuality, your entertainment, etc. is meant to be a living sacrifice. What if you allow Jesus to enter and whip what is not pleasant and nice in us? It is like a springtime house cleaning of one’s garage. Lent is a time of spring cleaning of sins. The mess he took in his body on the Cross is the mess in us we created ourselves! Allow Jesus to cleanse us! Whatever in you not dedicated to him needs to be reformed and turned over to him!

(3) What could be a helpful guide in this spring cleaning of our lives? Walk through Our  first reading in Ex. 20 dealing with the Ten Commandments!

1st is about our basic/fundamental sin: idolatry – turning something less than god into God.

2nd is about speaking about God: our speech shapes our thoughts.

3rd keeping the Sabbath holy is very relevant today when materialism reigns supreme.

4th is about Family integrity. How is our family life?

5th is about murder: God stands for life. Are you a life giver a life taker?

6th is about adultery. What the Church teaches on sexual morality protects dignity of people.

7th prohibits stealing. Gossip amounts to stealing.

8th is about False Witness. How  we love to drop people.Can any of us spend a day without saying anything bad about another.

9th and 10th about coveting, desiring, liking at what the other have. Avoid comparing oneself to another

CONCLUSION: Enter into the innermost temple of your soul doing some house cleaning of the dark sides of ourselves!

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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