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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

3RD SUNDAY OF LENT

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 This weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of Lent and our readings take us from the Ten Commandments in the first reading to Jesus putting the tax collectors out of the temple in the gospel. What does this say to you and me about our journey during this time of Lent? For each person the scripture for this weekend will mean something different.

In the first reading we are presented with the ten commandments  they  challenges us to establish a right order with God (the first three commandments) and then with our fellow human beings (the last seven commandments) and ourselves. The words of the second reading tell us that God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.  Our sins are signs of the weakness that we must overcome.“Christ is the power of God”; his weakness is more powerful than our strength and with God on our side who can be against us?

This Sunday’s gospel puts Jesus’ knowledge of our human nature so clearly: He really knew what was going on in the hearts of those around him. He knew what they thought as he knows what we think and what is going on in our hearts. He saw what they did to the Temple. The Temple was a place of worship. It was a place of celebrating the spiritual presence of God in the world. And  they changed the Temple into a marketplace.For many in our modern world the day of the Lord Sunday has been replaced with so many secular things taking the place of God and religion. Jesus knew that we would hide the celebration of the Resurrection behind the Easter Bunny. He knew that people would see the signs that he worked, the miracles he performed, but would refuse to see the messages behind the signs and the miracles. Instead they would see him as a wonder worker, a superman, a good show. Of course our faith is not about a good show instead it is about our relationship with God and with one another. Jesus shows us  what real love is. He went on to die on the cross for us.  Our dying with Christ during Lent is an identification with the power of Christ crucified. Our calling, then, is to be strong, not weak. The commandments represent not just a set of rules but an ideal of a social order for which we are to give our lives, as Christ did on the cross.

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