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Readings: Exodus 20:1-17 3rd Sunday of Lent
Psalm 19:8-11 March 15, 2009
1 Corinthian 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

Word: Obedience and commitment to Christ is faithfulness to God’s
Theme: We are faithful to God’s covenant when we zealously obey His
commandments. [Obedience]
Promise: “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances
of the Lord are true, all of them just.” (Ps 19:9)


According to the Gospel of John, and confirmed by Matthew and Mark, Jesus drove
people out of the temple. This whole scene happened in the court of the Gentiles.
There were five offenses, five defilements or corruptions that caused Jesus to drive
men out of the temple:

1. Jesus drove out those who commercialized and secularized the temple.
The outer court of the temple, the court of the Gentiles was tragically abused.
It had become nothing more than a commercial market place, owned and
operated by the priests, where selling and buying of sacrificial animals which
included oxen and sheep, as well as smaller doves and pigeons. It was used
for checking animals’ purity, and also the place for exchanging of foreign

2. Jesus drove out those who desecrated God’s house. The people are
using also the temple grounds as a thoroughfare. The temple and its ground
are so large that the gates are used as shortcut from one section of town to
another, especially for those carrying heavy loads. Jesus was forbidding such
disrespect and desecration of God’s house. God expects His church and its
grounds or courtyards to be held in highest respect and esteem. “Do not
come any closer.” God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where
you are is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5)

3. Jesus drove out those who violates the sacred and prayerful
atmosphere of the temple. Jesus said three things about the temple:

a. The temple is “My house.” Christ is the Lord, he owns the temple.
Anybody within its walls is either His guests or His servants.

b. “My house... will be called a house of prayer.” The purpose of the
Lord’s house is prayer. Prayer is its distinctive function, the very thing
for which it stands. (communion, sharing, praising, sharing, giving
thanks, listening and worship)

c. “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The
temple is to be open to all. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must
worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

4. Jesus drove out those who shut people out. The temple was to be a
house of prayer for all nations. Note two things that Jesus wants:

a. Neither the Gentiles nor anyone else were to be excluded. The women
and the Gentiles were to have as much access to the inner court of
worship as the Jewish men. (cp Isa 56:7)

b. The Court of the Gentiles, like any other court of the temple, was to
have an atmosphere of prayer. The entire temple and its courtyards
were for prayer and worship.

This is a critical lesson - a lesson that God has tried and tried to teach men
and nations through the centuries. There is no caste system, social barriers in
his temple. “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34)

5. Jesus drove out those who changed the purpose of the temple.
Tragically, it was the priest themselves who altered the purpose of the temple.
The priest saw they can reap some of the profits for the welfare of the temple
and for themselves. The words of Mark 15 tell us: “Jesus began driving out
those who were buying and selling there,” But why did Jesus drive them
away, if what they are selling and were needed for the worship and temple
rituals that are required by law? The buying and selling of the items for
worship and growth was necessary and good, but not within the temple
walls. It has to be done outside, away from the temple grounds.

The Jerusalem temple was sacred, a holy place where devout Jews came to
worship the one true God. Infinitely, more sacred is Jesus, who is the temple
himself, a perfect priest, the worshipper of the Father. He would fulfill his priesthood
when the temple of his body hung upon the cross. That is why he did not say, “I will
rebuild the temple,” but “I will raise it up,” when he prophesied His resurrection
from the dead. From the death of Jesus flowed a fullness of life which not only
raised him from the dead but also lifted us out of the tomb of sin. This life which
flows from the cross comes to us in the waters of baptism and gives us new life in
Christ, so that we become his body, his mystical body, the Church. From the
destruction of the Temple of his body, Christ rose in glory as Head of the Church, his
mystical body. All that Jesus said of his body as the Temple applies to us now, since
we have become part of Him, many though we are, just as many elements went into
the building of the Jerusalem temple.

Exodus tells us that God gave the Ten Commandments to be given to the people, as
their daily guide in living holy lives. God intended the law to perfect the hearts of His
chosen people and yet over the centuries, just as the laws lost its inner significance,
the practice of worship also became a mere ritual that needed to be performed. Our
theme, We are faithful to God’s covenant when we zealously obey His
commandments, reminds us again to bring back obedience to the law, as Jesus
reminds us to respect and enter His house of prayer with reverence and awe for a
God who loves us so much, he carried His cross towards Calvary, was crucified and
died crucified upon it.

Today Lord, I thank You for the gift of Your Cross, for through it You redeemed the
whole world. Lord Jesus, thank you for elevating my human nature into the dignity
of your pure, holy body. Help me Lord to respect the sacredness of life, in my body
as well as in others that I may never be a part of its desecration in anyway, in my
actions or behaviors. Help me in my efforts to share love and knowledge of You to
my brothers and sisters. In your name I pray, Amen.

Suggested Personal Reflection Guide:
1. How can I show my respect and reverence of God’s house of prayer
whenever I attend Mass or visit the Eucharist?
2. What actions and habits should I need to change to show to God my
reverence of the Temple of His Holy Spirit in my own body?
3. In what actions is my love be mere lip service just to fulfill an obligation?

Next Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
March 16, 2009 (Mon): 2 Kgs 5:1-15; Ps 42:2,3; 43:3-4; Lk 4:24-30
March 17, 2009 (Tue): Dn 3:25, 34-43; Ps 25:4-9; Mt 18:21-35
March 18, 2009 (Wed): Dt 4:1, 5-9; Ps 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20; Mt 5:17-19
March 19, 2009 (Thur): 2 Sm 7:4-5, 12-14, 16; Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29; Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22;
Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24 or Lk 2:41-51
March 20, 2009 (Fri): Hos 14:2-10; Ps 81:6-11, 14, 17; Mk 12:28-34
March 21, 2009 (Sat): Hos 6:1-6; Ps 51:3-4, 18-21; Lk 18:9-14

This Week’s Readings for Year of St. Paul:

Book of Ephesians Chapters 5 – 6

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”