Third Sunday of Lent
What exactly were the sellers and money changers doing in the temple area in today’s Gospel reading from Mark, and similarly in the other Gospel writers? Were they preparing the worshippers with what they needed for worship? Were they price gouging? Were they causing a noisy distraction to worship?
Jesus gave a “no nonsense” response! “You are making my Father’s house a marketplace …Stop…take these out of here” And “he drove them all out of the temple area.” Jesus’ life was so deeply affected that he “would not trust himself to them…because he understood human nature!” The ten commandments of the first reading fit right in. Human nature being what it is, we are gifted with the ten commandments. Today they are not forefront in peoples’ mind. How many can name them? Admittedly, I have trouble sometimes with their placement! They are meant to be a built-in part of our human nature, like common sense. But it helps to have them spelled out and brought back to our memory. In the environment of today, they are buried somewhere under the inordinate need for security, esteem, and control, as we have been reminded in recent readings of the temptations of Jesus.
Laws are indeed “in” and needed. Human Nature greatly benefits from the law. The Jewish code from two great commandments has become over 600 laws. Civil law in society is beyond count. Canon law has its place in the Church. And yet we continue to have injustices galore! If it is the idol of law that we worship, these injustices can come from the law itself. For the sellers and money changers of the Gospel and the marketers of today, we can easily admit that the cry, “but it’s legal”, is not going to bring human nature to its transformation. Nor will it bring justice to our world. Too much deception and too many loopholes and selfish agendas. Right within the law! Human Nature not at its best!
No wonder Jesus calls us to Repent. The cry of Lent- Repent! Stop! See what you are doing. It sounds like our Gospel. The journey of Lent and Human Nature is towards Easter and Transformation. It is Jesus’ triumph over sin and death found within the ways of humankind.
Jesus calls us to a higher life, to a transformation, and to be raised up!
In the Gospel Acclamation of today we are invited to believe:
“God loved the world so much that God gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life.”
And eternal life is now. Deep within the Repentance, we meet our God. Possibly you know that from experience. I do. And that is the Good News, the God News!
“Dearest God of Transformation, bless each of us individually and our world, society, family, and church. Grace us within and beyond our Human Nature, as You did on Ash Wednesday as we received the call and the blessing.”
“Repent and Believe the Good News.”
Surely our Human Nature shall meet you, O God of Transformation, again and again. Let it be so.
Sister Jo-Anne Faillace, O.P.