3rd Sunday of Lent (Fr. Francis)
As we continue our journey this season, on this third Sunday of Lent, we celebrate Christ the fullness of the law and the wisdom of God. Today, the Church calls us to rededicate ourselves to Christ. This is because He is the fulfillment of God’s commandment.
In our first reading from Exodus, God gave the Law to Moses for Israel. So, what is the purpose of the Law? The law was given to Israel to help them become wiser. It was also given to them to strengthen their relationship with God and organize their social and religious life.
Hence, the commandments of God are meant to form us into a sacred community. That is a community rooted in the genuine worship of God and a community that lives in justice and peace with one another. Therefore, we are to live as neighbors, respecting one another. The ultimate and remote purpose of this is to know, respect, and worship God, our creator.
While the old law was given through Moses, the new Law (Covenant) given through and in Christ fulfills it. God reveals Himself precisely in His commandment. Hence, as the fulness of God’s commandments, Christ is the channel through which God receives and loves us.
In our second reading, Paul reminds us that Christ is: “The fullness of God’s wisdom.” The Greeks searched for this wisdom. Unfortunately, they ignorantly rejected Him. So, instead of benefiting from Him, they were misled by the wisdom of this world.
According to Paul, Christ is the fullness of the law and the wisdom of God. So, whoever finds and receives him, will be filled with wisdom and never walk-in ignorance. “Whoever receives him will never walk-in darkness again” (Jn 8, 12). Darkness is opposed to wisdom. Whoever has not received Christ, the fullness of wisdom, though he walks according to the wisdom of this world, lives in darkness.
In today’s gospel, John narrates Jesus’ encounter with those profaning God’s Sanctuary. For Jews, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish belief and worship. The holy of holies was the most sacred part of the temple for it contained the Ark of the Covenant. The ark held the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a most important message from God and understood to be the presence of God.
His action simply demonstrates that He is God’s wisdom and the fullness of the law. His zeal distinguished him from the authorities. Instead of representing God’s interest, they expressed their selfish economic and social interests. It also distinguishes him from temple pilgrims who simply visited the temple without real devotion to God.
What do we learn from today’s gospel? First, we are not supposed to keep quiet or remain indifferent while things go wrong. This is especially in the house of God, our homes, offices, or any place at all. Also, we must not allow our personal intention to destroy the sanity of our Church, family, state, or country. The Church is the house of God and a place of worship. We must keep it holy and respect it. Also, it reminds us that our body and the body of Christ is the Temple of God. So, we must not defile it.
Our relationship with God must be that of a child to his parent, one of mutual love, respect, and a desire for the family’s good, with no thought of personal loss or gain.
Let us remember that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit: St. Paul reminds us that we are God’s temples, body, and soul, because the Spirit of God dwells in us. Hence, we have no right to desecrate God’s temple by impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, or jealousy. Let us be cleansed by asking God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us love our parish Church as our “Father’s house” and use it: Let us make our Church, our “Heavenly Father’s house” a holier place by our active participation in the liturgy, by offering our time and talents in the various ministries and by our financial support for its maintenance and development.
So, as we march forward this season, let us continue to abide by the commandments of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the perfect wisdom. Amen.
Fr. A. Francis HGN