Pastor's Desk: 3rd Sunday of Lent
You are all welcome to our Sunday Eucharist on this Third Sunday of Lent. I hope your Lenten observance is going OK! This can be the time when people waver a little bit, but let us regroup and continue our commitment.
Our Readings today are very powerful ones indeed. Our First Reading from Exodus gives us the Ten Commandments to think about. Some people seem to think they have been done away with, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are probably the best template for us to gauge how we are living as human beings, let alone believers in God. I think we can do no better than to put a marker in our bible where the Ten Commandments are in Exodus, and during our personal prayer time every so often, have a quick read of them and ask ourselves honestly, how do we measure up? If more people tried to follow the commandments laid out for us there we would live in a safer and happier society.
Our Second Reading then from St. Paul to the Corinthians reminds us that to be a follower of Jesus is to take a leap of faith. There is no doubt that our faith is rational, but ultimately reason takes us so far and then we have to trust in God. As St. Paul says, “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” There will always be those who mock our faith and call it stupid and irrational and it hurts us that we cannot “prove” our faith. Faith in Jesus is not a mathematical equation but a loving relationship between God and us which was shown to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel then shows us a side of Jesus we don’t often see and that is Jesus overcome with anger when he sees how the Temple in Jerusalem has been turned into primarily a place of business and not a place of worship and prayer. If our normal image of Jesus is one where He is meek and mild then today we see that Jesus was a man capable of physical anger when needed. His anger is understandable: he has been progressing through the towns and villages, preaching the Word of God and looking forward to reaching the Temple in Jerusalem, the pinnacle place of worship for any Jew; and rather than finding the experience of the Temple faith-enhancing, He is outraged by the lack of awareness of God and indeed, respect for God.
We too can be shocked at the lack of respect for God in our society. There seems to be nothing sacred anymore, be it life, church or indeed a person’s faith. All are open to ridicule and worse. The challenge for us is to stick to our own beliefs and live by the Ten Commandments and not the “values” of the society around us.