Third Sunday Of Lent Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah
First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Gospel: John 2:13-25
Theme: Genuine Worship
The issue of what constitute true nay genuine worship has often been discussed in both religious and social circles. Some argue that the answer to the question what constitute true religion hinges on rules and rituals. The readings of today highlight what true and genuine religion actually entails.
Explanation of the text
When we started the Lent we were taken to the desert to be tested and last week we were taken to the top of the mountain for the transfiguration and transformation. Today being the third Sunday of Lent we are brought into the Temple. The Temple is where the ark of the covenant is kept. And one of things contained in the ark of the covenant is the decalogue, i.e. the ten commandments which we hear in our first reading. The ten commandments are not merely rules of do’s and dont’s. The purpose of the commandment is to aid man to have a good relationship with God and neighbour. The first-three talk about man’s relationship with God and the rest talk about our relationship with one another.
Today we see Jesus in the Temple fuming with anger and rage unlike when he was in the desert and in the mountain with his countenance wrapped in divine glory. The first reason for his righteous anger was because the Temple, instead of being a house of prayer had become a den of thieves. Obviously, injustice and oppression are done especially to the Temple. The rituals in the Temple have become the occasions for abuse and oppression against the poor. The Temple became the place where greed, corruption, deceit and cheating take place.
The question then arises what is true religion? Is it merely observing some rules or performing rituals?. True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion isn’t about some philosophies of a sort nor signs and wonders as Paul talks about in our second reading. True religion is about relationship with God and neighbour, which Christ didn’t only preach about it but also live it.
Our lifestyle should reflect a heart of true worship. This is not optional. Remember when the Jews demanded from him what he meant by his action in the Temple, he said to them destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it and he was referring to his body. Our bodies too are the Temples of the Holy Spirit as alludes by Paul and therefore need cleansing.
We cannot live like hell all week and expect heaven to fall during worship in the Temple. We cannot fill out mind with darkness all week and expect the light of Christ to shine during worship in the Temple. We cannot worship ourselves, and things all week and expect to turn out affections toward God on one designated day.
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