Catholic homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year B
Theme: Cleansing of the temple
By: Fr. Anthony Kadavil
Chaplain, Sacred Heart Home, Mobile, AL
Homily for Sunday March 7 2021
Today’s readings from Holy Scripture teach us that Lent is the ideal time to clean out the Temple of our own hearts and to offer to God proper Divine worship by obeying the Ten Commandments. They also teach us that our New Covenant with God demands that we should keep our parish Church holy and our Divine worship vibrant by our active participation in the liturgy with hearts cleansed by repentance, and holy by allowing the Holy Spirit to control our hearts and lives.
Today’s first reading teaches us that the Ten Commandments are the basis of our religious and spiritual life. Instead of restricting our freedom, the Commandments really help us to love and respect our God and our neighbors.
The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 19) depicts the Mosaic Law’s life-enhancing attributes: it refreshes the soul and rejoices the heart; it is pure and true, more precious than gold.
The second reading reminds us that we must appreciate the Divine “foolishness” of the crucified Christ and obey His commandment of love as our expression of Divine worship.
Today’s Gospel gives us the dramatic account of Jesus’ cleansing the Temple of its merchants and moneychangers, followed by a prediction of his death and Resurrection. The synoptic Gospels place the “cleansing of the Temple” immediately after Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a colt on Palm Sunday, while John places it at the beginning of his Gospel. Jesus cleansed the Temple which King Herod began to renovate in 20 BC. The abuses which kindled the prophetic indignation of Jesus were the conversion of God’s Temple into a “noisy marketplace” by the animal merchants and into a “hideout of thieves” by the moneychangers with their grossly unjust business practices – sacrilege in God’s Holy Place. Jesus’ reaction to this commercialized Faith was fierce. Since no weapons were allowed inside the Temple, Jesus had to construct his own weapon, a whip of cords to drive out the merchants and moneychangers from the Court of the Gentiles.
Life messages: 1) We need to avoid a calculating mentality in Divine worship: Our relationship with God must be that of a child to his parent, one of mutual love, respect and a desire for the family’s good, with no thought of personal loss or gain. We are not supposed to think of God as a vending machine into which we put our sacrifices and good deeds to get back His blessings.
2) Let us remember that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit: St. Paul reminds us that we are God’s temples, body and soul, because the Spirit of God dwells in us. Hence, we have no right to desecrate God’s temple by impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, or jealousy. Let us be cleansed by asking God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 3) Let us love our parish Church as our “Father’s house” and use it: Let us make our Church, our “Heavenly Father’s house” a holier place by our active participation in the liturgy, by offering our time and talents in the various ministries and by our financial support for its maintenance and development.