March 11th, 2012 – Third Sunday in Lent – Year B

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Dear Friends:

Everything that Jesus said and did revealed both the character of his heavenly Father and the desires of his Father’s heart: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’. By clearing out the traders and money-changers from the temple, Jesus revealed the desire of his Father to receive his people’s undivided love. God wants the worship of every human being, each one created in his own image, and he seeks the love of all whom he has delivered out of slavery to sin and death.

Jesus was distressed when he saw that the hearts of the traders in the temple courts were ensnared by greed and that they had no zeal or love for God. His own heart was on fire with love for his Father. He passionately wanted the temple to be a place where God would be loved above all things. So, moving in and through the power of the Spirit, Jesus drove out the traders and the money-changers. This action both expressed his own love for his Father and fulfilled a previous prophecy: For zeal for thy house has consumed me’ .

By purifying the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus gave a sign that God would raise up a new temple, cleansed of all corruption. The body of Jesus, raised from the dead, would be this new temple: ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’.

Baptized into the risen Christ, we too have become God’s temple, living stones being built into a spiritual house. Enabled by the Spirit’s power, we can love the Lord with a zealous and undivided heart. Yet so often our hearts become caught up in other things, loving them more than we love God. As human beings our greatest glory is that we, of all God’s creation, can worship the Lord. We alone, the beloved sons and daughters of God the Father, can love our Father — he made us to do so. God loves us — and we can love him in return!