Homily March 8, 2015 3rd Sunday of Lent
Today we see Moses present the decalogue or the ten commandments or the directions or teachings for the Israelites to get along. Certainly they were not taken as absolutes but as guides to the will of God. They in no way could address every moment or direction in a person’s life. Even today we have a tendency to water down and justify and make excuses and exceptions to absolutes with all kind of circumstances and reasons for making things less absolute. Jesus set a whole new meaning to life with his law and direction to love. If we truly believed in loving as the direction of our life and our actions, the world would be a different place to live in. If we could really love others as much as we loved ourself much would change. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t even know how to love themselves much less care for others. This is why sometimes directions or guidelines are needed.
In the gospel today, we see a different Jesus. The Temple for the Jews was a holy place, meant to house the Ark of the covenant and God’s very presence. Money changers, animals, and all kinds of sellers and businesses were there looking to make a profit off the worshipers coming to the temple. It was really a marketplace. We so often picture Jesus as a mild loving man, gentle and loving, touching the poor and sick and healing. Yet today we see him scattering coins around, turning tables over, chasing animals out of the temple courtyard. He was even using a whip to chase away the men. Imagine the chaos and consternation of the people. His zeal and righteousness for his Father’s temple was complete. But when he was challenged, he referred to a new different temple, the temple of his body. Suddenly we see that now there is a different temple in Jesus’ church. It is his body and to be resurrected body, present and given to us in his Eucharist. He has told us he remains with us and has given us his Spirit, but also we have his body and blood in the Eucharist to have and to share.
Think of the irony of that. We build churches, cathedrals and monuments, all to house our faith, but the real temple or building is Jesus himself sealing and uniting and embracing us in his very body and blood. The time, the place matter not, for he said where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there am I. And there it is, our zeal, our care for God’s presence is in how we love and how we share and consume Christ’s body and blood together. The truth is that the more we love the more we become like him. We have to learn to find Jesus in the person of others, and dispose of our money changers and distractions that get in the way of our faith driven love. In a small way we then share and bring Christ’s love to others.