Third Sunday of Lent

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From The Pastor

The first words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of St. John was in the form of a question. He sees two disciples of John the Baptist following him and asks them "What are you looking for?"

They reply. "Rabbi, where are you staying?" Jesus replies, "Come, and you will see."

His answer is not about a street address someplace in Galilee, an apartment in Nazareth, not even a mail box where you can leave messages. It is an invitation to live with him.

The action of Jesus, in today’s gospel, is in the tradition of the prophets. The prophets rebuked the people who thought they were safe by coming to the temple while committing all sorts of wrong-doings.

Jesus like the prophets before him loved the temple, but he is warning them and us that even the most holy created places can become obstacles to believing in him. The temple truly was the dwelling place of the divine presence: the holy place of prayer and communion with God. They were unable to see that Jesus himself was the new temple. He is the indestructible dwelling place of the divine presence, of prayer and communion with God.

St. Paul tells us, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you."

This temple; our body, our soul, our very being, is in constant need of cleansing, as Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem. This is the time to remove the clutter, the baggage that keeps us from Christ.

At the beginning of Lent, in the Gospel of Matthew, we were told that God our Father knows that secret place, in us. Not the externals but the secrets of our hearts. Everything unworthy of this temple, unworthy of God has to be cast out.

– Fr. Joe

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