HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my father’s house a place for buying and selling!.” John 2:16
BY: Fr. Chimezie C. Aladi
GOSPEL JOHN 2:13-25.
The above quotation from the gospel of John underscores LENT as a time of Interior Cleansing and renewal. A time to rediscover the face of God within us in his temple which is our body. Permit me my dearest brothers on sisters to reflect with you on this 3rd Sunday of Lent on cleansing God’s temple which is our bodies.” Don’ t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God”?1 Corinthians 6:19
Meanwhile, I hope you have not wavered in the Lenten struggle and sacrifice. Remain positive, don’t be discouraged you can do it.
The First reading of today reminds us of the ten commandments with which God made a covenant with us. In the first Sunday of Lent we reflected on God’s covenant with the world through Noah and today, we see God entering into another covenanted relationship with his chosen people through Moses at Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments form a list of directives or instructions for living out our Covenant relationship with God based on two fundamental principle of respect and reverence and summarized by the law of Love. These divinely revealed precepts of divine law regulates our relationship with God and our neighbour. Adherence to the commandments enables us love God and our neighbour better. We can not please God if we don’t obey his rulings. Funny it may sound, many don’t believe in the commandments for them its an old law that does not address the circumstances of the modern world. But the reality remains that God’s law is perennially true and valid for every generation and age, and it is not subject to amendment. The moment we overlook them the world crumbles.
Sin occurs when we are negligent of God’s commandments. Every sinful action is traceable to a violation of one or more commandments of God. It was sin and impurities that filled and defiled the temple of God. Jesus in that expulsion of buyers and sellers in the temple, reminds us how we have filled and defiled his temple which our bodies are. Every activities of man has it rightful place of execution, to buy and sell in the temple is an anomaly. To use our God given gifts and bodies for commercial purposes is equally sinful before God. Those buying and selling in the temple failed to perceive what the temple stands for and is meant for, so also underlying every sinful action is our failure to put to a good use what God has given us.
LENT is the time of interior cleansing and purification. Jesus came to cleanse and purify us from every attachment to sin through his passion, death and resurrection. We have acquired and accumulated a lot that is gradually weighing us down spiritually. Our lives are filled with vanities that has occupied the space of God in our lives. Imagine how difficult it is to bring in a new set of furniture into a house already filled with old stuff. To bring in the new, the old must give way. The house must be emptied of useless properties to bring in the useful. So also we must get rid of sinful habits, dispositions and ways that has crippled the manifestation of divine grace in our lives, that has made us spiritually bankrupt and kept us stunted in growing in the spirit. It may be greed, adultery, fornication, idolatry, anger, impatient, pride, gluttony, avarice, lust, lack of self control, sloth etc., that has kept you down all these years and filled your life with so much impurities, like Jesus Lent is a time to declare war and express that anger over all that has no rightful place in our lives.
Let us begin the war by rejecting them at the sacrament of reconciliation. To identify a problem is already a success towards solving it. Ask for God’s mercy and he will forgive you. When we go to confessions we not only obtain forgiveness of sins but also the grace to overcome future temptations. If you want to win the war, get your self armed at the confessional.
Be prayerful. We cannot acquire and sustain any virtuous habit without prayer. You need to increase the tempo of your prayers. Make it a routine.
Keep fasting to acquire more discipline and self control to overcome those sinful habits.
Keep giving to the poor and helping others to get rid of those attachments to things that has occupied your life.
Avoid every occasion/s of Sin. It’s better to avoid the occasion of sin than to fight sin while in the occasion. Don’t put yourself to test, you are not an angel.
Jesus was a bit violent in driving those desecrating the temple. Therefore this is not the time to pamper or be patient sinful habits. It takes serious discipline to get rid of a sinful habit. You must adjust and readapt to the new life set before you by God by embracing every thing needed to achieve that goal. You must suffer yourself if you want to achieve success. No procrastination, no excuses.
Jesus is portrayed in the gospel as causing a scandal by his prophetic cleansing of the Temple, Paul says in the second reading that Jesus’ cross is a scandal, or “stumbling block,” to the Jews and “foolishness” to Gentiles. A crucified Christ did not fit into the Jewish concept of a triumphant political Messiah. Jesus was completely misunderstood so my dear don’t give up or be afraid if you are misunderstood for taking up a way of life that is pleasing to God. Breaking away from a conventional pattern of behaviour may seem absurd in the eyes of the world, so don’t expect people to understand you in breaking away from a sin that has become conventional in your life. Everyone will not love you for doing things right so, to be afraid of hurting anyone. Romans 12:2 says” do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”.God alone suffices. Someday just like disciple came to realize after the resurrection that Jesus is simply talking about the temple which is His body, many will come to appreciate your efforts.
With God’s grace you can do all that. His grace is sufficient for you. May you be cleansed and purified of all that is not of God or godly in your life, so that you can offer God a sacrifice holy and acceptable to Him, and remain receive His abundant blessings and favours.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Chimezie C. Aladi