Sunday Sermon ThirdSunday of Lent

Exodus 20: 1-7. 1 Corinthians 1: 22-25.

John 2: 13-25

The Gospel - John 2:13-22 (Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome) -  YouTube

Jesus is often depicted as the One Who came to  sweep away a law-bound approach to faith and worship, replacing formal laws with spontaneous love. But He also said, ”Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish, but to complete them.”

It’s always difficult to deal with someone else’s anger, wherther justified or not. In today’s Gospel, the Prince of Peace loses His cool and appears to act completely out of character. Distressed, He disrupts the daily business of the Temple, taking drastic action as He sees His Father’s house turned into a glorified supermarket where worshippers are literally short-changed by those intent on making  a  fast buck by selling sick or deformed animals unfit for  market for sacrifice in the Temple. And it’s not as if He’s dealing with ignorant, ill-informed people, but money-changers, merchants, those prepared to argue the toss with Him about political correctness. He wants to make the point that His people had lost sight of  the  real  meaning of the Temple as a place of worship, treating it instead as a commercial thoroµghfare.

What to do? Should He  close His eyes  to the situation and say nothing … or dare to be radical, challenging and different? What  would  we do?  Is there any  real  need  to  be such a fanatic? No need to rock  the  boat  too much … just chill!

The Gospel reminds us that such behaviour is hypocritical. Jesus tells us that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him; that no one putting bis hand to the plough and looking back is worthy of the Kingdom.  Is  that a command to leave behind some of the things we worship and hold in such high esteem – wealth, power, am bition, over-indulgence in alcohol or drugs? Sometimes we just have to rock the boat.

If we’re totally honest with ourselves, we know  there  are situations where it’s so easy just to tum a blind eye – physical abuse of young people or the elderly, injustice at work, someone getting a raw deal, government promises and policy to the Thlrd World  regarding aid and  the sale of arms. Commitment can look like stupidity or madness

– after all, what can I do about it; it’s nothing to do with  me! But there will come a time when we  feel  that  we have to speak out, and it may cost us dearly. But  what price being able to live with  yourself?  Peter  was  ashamed of his own lack of courage. We might well get embarrassed because we don’t like to confront the powers which devalue our beliefs, with beliefs and theories con­ trary to our own and those of the Gospel  –  permissive­ ness .. there’s no such thing as sin, etc. Then we  try  to salve our own onsciences by telling ourselves that everyone’s doing this or that, it’s accepted practice now­ adays, so it must be O.K.

Sometimes we just have to be fanatics, disturb the peace, speak out, rock the boat, stand up and be counted. Sometimes that’s just the only truly Christian option.  Christ promises to renew us and bring us to new life, to raise us up so that we can truly be – and live as – God’s holy people, offering true worship both by  our  prayers and our way of life. Because we are the living stones of God’s new Temple, and through the Mass, we are empowered, “through Him and with Him and in Him” to give all glory and honour to our Father in Heaven.

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