Third Sunday of Lent Year B: Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Exod 20:1-17; Ps 19:8-11; 1 Cor 1:22-25 and John 2: 13-25
Our Spiritual Cleansing - Christ the New Temple
Dear Friends in Christ,
There are some times in this life that we humans live within the boundary of our own wisdom and subjective thinking. Truth is only seen through the prism of our world-view. We reject objective norms and standards. There are moments we act or abuse, misuse what God has given us to the extreme, all in the name of freedom. And sometimes we forget that God created each and every one of for our neighbors and to do His will. In God’s Wisdom these objective norms are still important for our well-being and for a healthy society, where we show our love for God and our neighbors.
St. Paul in the 2nd reading reminds us that Christ is the power of God and the Wisdom of God. And that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and what we might count the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
The Laws, the 10 commandment given to Israel through the “Old Moses” in the 1st reading on Mount Sinai, God’s mountain, summarizes God’s Covenant relationship with us, individual and Church, the new Israel. It is the epitome of obedience, love, respect we owe our neighbors, God, and the society in all circumstances, recognizing what God has done for us, continued in Christ.
Christ, the “new Moses” sticks to the Wisdom of his Father in his ministry of love to all, the beatitude, obedience, liberating, healing, orderliness and cleansing including the Temple, like the mountain, the dwelling place of God. The Temple for Christ in today’s Gospel (John 2:13-25) must remain not only as a universal place of prayer, opened for all, but must be kept clean (Mk 11:17, Isa 56:7 and Jer 7:11), not restricted to the aristocratic ruling groups. It must not be turn into a market place for gambling and exchanging money of the ruling elites for profits. When destroyed it shall be raised in three days. In his spiritual wisdom found in all pages of the symbolic Johannine Scriptures, he was referring to his body, his death and the resurrection. He referring to the end of the era of the Temple and the beginning of a Temple not built with human hands. Christ is the new Temple for us.
As another Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, Lent continues to be a time we continue reevaluate our observance of God’s precepts and of the Church; the respect we owe ourselves, and the dignity we give to other human persons, universally. It is a favorable time for our spiritual cleansing, renewal, purification and enlightenment in the laws and love of Christ in our neighbors.