March 7, 2021 - The Third Sunday of Lent
“Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.”
Exodus 20:1-3, 7 -8, 12-17 [Shorter Form]
I Corinthians 1: 22-25
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent focus on proclamation: what Moses proclaimed to the people in the desert; what St. Paul proclaimed to the people when they demanded signs and the wisdom of the Greek world; and how Christ proclaimed the importance of the temple and how he, the divine temple, would be raised to new life in three days.
In the first reading for this Sunday, Moses encourages the people to listen, and to live out in their lives, the commandments which God gives to His people through His prophet. God’s Word tells us how we must live out our lives before God. We are reminded of the importance and sanctity of the Sabbath. Our day of sanctity is Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection. We too, are reminded of the importance of Sunday as a day of worship and rest from our daily work.
St. Paul reminds us that we also must proclaim Christ crucified in our lives, who truly is the power and the wisdom of God. How do our daily lives speak to this proclamation that God is wiser than our human wisdom? God is also the strength in our lives even when we feel great weakness, especially during this time of our world pandemic.
In the Gospel, the Evangelist, John, writes that Jesus went up to the temple in Jerusalem. Might He not have been going there expressly to pray. However, He encountered the chaos of moneychangers and a market for selling animals. Infuriated, He drove them out of the temple area, saying “Take these out of here and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” The disciples with Jesus recalled the Scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” But the Jews responded by asking for a sign. Jesus then compared Himself, His body, to the Temple, saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up.” The disciples recalled His words and prayed; the moneychangers and sellers were too immersed in a life of money and greed to understand.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“The oratory must be simply a place of prayer, as the name itself implies, and it must not be used for any other activities at all nor as a place of storage of any kind. At the completion of the Work of God, all must depart in absolute silence which will maintain a spirit of reverence towards the Lord, so that anyone wishing to pray alone in private may not be prevented by the irreverent behavior of another. Then also anyone, who at some other time, wants to pray privately, may very simply go into the oratory and pray secretly, not in a loud voice but with tears of devotion that come from heart.” (translation: Patrick Barry, former Abbot of Ampleforth, York, England). Ch. 52: 1-4
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” John 3:16