Celebrate Sunday Mass - 3.3.24 - The Third Sunday of Lent

MARCH 3, 2024 -- The Third Sunday of Lent

3/2/2024 (4 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord

In the first reading for today's Holy Mass on this Third Sunday of Lent, we heard the Ten Commandments, given by the Lord to Moses for the people of Israel. They should be familiar to every one of us.

They set forth a Way of Life which reflects Gods plan - not only for Israel, but through Israel, for all Nations. They set forth how we are to worship and obey God, not kill, not steal, honor, and keep holy the Lords Day, honor one another, honor our parents...

Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that these ten commandments are no longer as important. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, especially during Lent, they provide a particularly good framework for examining our own Conscience. Especially when we are preparing to go to confession. Are we following these commandments? Jesus came not to abolish them, but to fulfill them - and through His Passion Suffering, Death and Resurrection, He gives us the grace we need to live them, by living our lives now in Him.

How are we doing?

In our second reading, an excerpt from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul reminds the early believers, that we are to proclaim Jesus Christ, crucified, to all men and women, to "Jews and Gentiles." Any message purporting to proclaim the Christian Gospel which fails to proclaim the necessity of the Cross of Christ, is not a message which will lead to salvation.

Mercy certainly meets people where they are, as Jesus did, but then calls them to repent for their sin, turn to Jesus Christ, and follow Him. Today, we are hearing some errant messages which fail to proclaim the needs for repentance Yes, Jesus "meets us where we are", as you often hear. But He does so to bring us to where He is. As the Apostle writes "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Cor. 1:25)

In the Gospel appointed for today's Holy Mass, Jesus cleanses the temple. He overturns the money changers tables. He calls those within the temple to offer pure worship to God. He demands that they stop using "His Father's House" as a marketplace.

The proper response of the religious leaders should have been to repent. But the religious leaders did not do so. In fact, in another account, they asked Jesus for a sign to prove He had authority to issue this well-deserved rebuke to their behavior.

The rebuke gets even stronger, as the chapter reveals.

Think about this. The Incarnate Word of the Father, the promised Messiah, is standing before them! Yet, they are so blinded by their own self worship and arrogance of power that they fail to recognize Him. In WE heard these words proclaimed:

In Chapter 2 of St. John's Gospel, we read these words: "The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us that you should act like this?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?' But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said."

Not only were the religious leaders of the day dishonoring the temple made of bricks and mortar. They failed to recognize the living temple, Jesus Himself, standing before them.

How do we treat the "temple"? For Christians that is the sanctuary of the Church. Jesus is present in a profound way in every Catholic Church, particularly in the tabernacle. When we approach Him there, do we recognize Him? Do we show Him honor? Do we worship Him? Let us resolve this Lent to rediscover our love for the Fathers House and pledge to regularly visit the Lord in the tabernacle whenever possible.

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day and throughout this pilgrimage of faith called Lent.

Deacon Keith Fournier

Dean of Catholic Online School

Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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