Saturday, March 7, 2015

03-08-2015 -- 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B

March 08, 2015 - 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

When we read the Gospels, I suspect we often think of the Temple as merely part of the background.

But for those who lived in Jerusalem, the Temple dominated everything, its size, its economic importance, the smell and the blood that resulted from all the animal sacrifice.

It drew the people in and gave them a sense of identity, a sense of belonging.

It must have been fascinating to watch what was going on, who was coming, who was going, who was in, who was out.

But Jesus knew the Temple had become something other than what it was intended to be. It was no longer the Father’s House; it was no longer a house of prayer.

In cleansing the Temple, Jesus indicated that he came to replace it. When Jesus says the Temple is to be destroyed, he is creating a new temple with his body.

Jesus is crucified at the time the lambs are being slaughtered for the Passover. This is significant because Jesus is the new Lamb. Jesus is the new Priest. Jesus is the new Temple.

Jesus brings an end to the Temple cult, an end to the market, an end to the money changers, and an end to the animal sacrifices.

Why does Jesus do this? Because Jesus must live in the truth. He must do what is good and right and just. He replaces the human institution of temple sacrifice with the divine institution of the Eucharist.

In this wonderful exchange Jesus now gives us his very self as the sacrifice on the altar so that we don't have to continue trying to find other sacrifices.

I want to suggest to you that these other sacrifices of ours don't always appease or please our God in the way we think they do. They only work insofar as they make us better people.

What our God wants and expects from us is to do what Jesus does. God wants us to live in the truth, to do what is right, to do what is just.

Our God does not expect us to be perfect. But our God expects us to make the best choices we can make in the difficult situations we find ourselves in our lives. Our God desires for us to live in the truth.

The challenge for us during this holy season of Lent is to look into our hearts into our souls and into our lives and ask ourselves, am I living in the truth? Or do I live in a world of lies, misinformation, and gossip.

Am I a person who looks for the good in others? Or am I a person who goes sneaking around with deceit in my heart, trying to manipulate and control others so that I can get my own way?

Jesus does not do this and Jesus does not want us to do this.
When we come here, we celebrate being set free from all that. We come here to rejoice in the truth.

We come here to worship in the New Temple. We come here to witness the sacrifice of the New Lamb. We come here to be fed by Jesus the New Priest.

We receive Jesus’ very Body and Blood given in this Eucharistic sacrifice which takes the place of the old Temple sacrifice.

If we live in the truth, Jesus, the New Temple, resides in our hearts and in our minds.

But we can pervert the Temple just like the people had in Jesus’ day.
And so today we call upon the Lord Jesus to come to us, to cleanse the temples of our hearts and minds and souls.

We do this asking Jesus to help us live in the truth, so that we can go out into the world and do what is good and right and just.

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