HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: WORSHIP GOD ALONE, PURIFY HIS TEMPLE.
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
1st reading: Ex. 20:1-17
2nd reading: 1Cor. 1:22-25
Gospel: Jn 2:13-25
Having reached this milestone in our Lenten journey, in this 3rd Sunday of lent we are invited to make a resolve to worship God alone and to continually cleanse his temple of all forms of abuse.
In the first reading God gives the ten commandments (the Decalogue) to the people of Israel. The first commandment is the basis of all commandments because it condemns idolatry, the root of all other sins which the ten commandments prohibit. Idolatry has different faces in the world today. We have Idolatry of the wealth/money (worship of mammon), idolatry of pleasure, adulation of power, hero worship, idolization of superstars (music, sports, etc), also obsession to social media can also be a modern idolatry . Whatever we give our time, admiration, attention and importance to more than God is a god or gods in disguise.
In the gospel Jesus found the temple of God desecrated with commercial activities. Pilgrims from different nations needed to change their currencies in order to purchase items for sacrifice in the temple. This usually happened outside the walls of the temple. But due to greed the priests set booths within the gentile court solely for business transaction. The atmosphere was changed from that of prayer and worship to that of commotion found in the market.
Jesus took a whip and chased them away and turned their tables. By so doing he reminds us of the purpose which God's temple serves: a house of prayer and a place of worship. "My house is a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers." (Lk 19:46). Jesus was angry because attention was shifted from the worship of God in the temple to mammon the god of money, an idolatry that the first commandment condemns. The action of Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel 8:1-18. God led Ezekiel to the temple to see detestable things the people do in the temple and he promised to deal with them I’m anger.
The temple of God can be understood in three senses.
1. The physical temple. In 1st Kg. 6, Solomon builds a physical the temple.
2. Jesus as the temple of God.
In Jn 2: 19 Jesus speaks of himself as a temple that will be destroyed and he will raise it up in three days. As a temple Jesus is the meeting point of God and man.
3. Human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. The human body is temple of God which we must take care of and honor God with. St. Paul says to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1Cor. 6:19). One thing common among these understandings of the temple is that it is the dwelling place of the most high God.
Dear friends we abuse God's temple
1. when give much attention to money
2. When we forget what worship is all about and to whom it is due
3. When we misuse church buildings and facilities for worship
4. When we play ignorance of God's holiness and the reverence due to him.
5. When we worship men of God instead of God of men
6. When those called to be ministers of God choose to appear like superstars rather than stewards of the gospel to be emulated.
7. When we use political powers and social influences in the the house of God for personal interests.
8. When we give our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, for all forms of immortality.
May God through our Lenten observances pour out his grace upon us to render our worship entirely to him and and help us cleanse his temple of all impurities. HAPPY SUNDAY