March 8, 2015 – Third Sunday of Lent

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Today’s readings are pointed, challenging and call us to be accountable. We are to be accountable to ourselves, our families and most importantly, our God.

In the first reading from Exodus 20: 1-17, we are provided with the Commandments which we are challenged by God to live our lives by. Our every action, decision and word is held to the standards of these Commandments. That’s pretty powerful! From the moment we awake in the morning, throughout our days and until our heads lay upon our pillow at night, God is watching to see how we measure up to his requests of each of us. The first of the Commandments and the most significant states: “I the Lord am your God…you shall not have other God’s before me….you shall not carve idols for yourselves.”

Have you thought about that particular Commandment as it relates to your daily lives? What are the things we idolize and follow in our lives? Do we place too much “faith” in those around us, those we see on television or hear in our music? Do we view the athletes on the fields of sports as “Gods” among us? Are we truly living this and all the Commandants each day and showing this through our words, actions and ways?

To me, it is a moment to moment challenge to allow Christ to always be present and accept His orders through the adherence of the Commandments but, He understands this. That is the beauty of His love. It is never ending and always forgiving. To help me during these difficult moments, I try placing the face of Jesus on all those I come into contact with so that I can allow His eyes to look at me through others. When I do this, it helps me hold myself accountable because I can truly see Him looking at me and begging me to love and honor him through my love of others. There it is. Love. If we love one another and allow love to be our guide, the Commandments become much easier for us to follow.

The second reading comes to us from 1 Corinthians 1: 22-25. “Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

That’s a difficult passage to understand on its reading alone but, when coupled with the first reading I break this down for myself in a simple reflection: Don’t demand from God signs of His presence, look for them yourselves and allow the signs of His works to become clear to your own eyes be seeking Him in the face of others. Be His sign to others by the works you perform so they too shall see His presence among us.

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 2 verse 13-25 we hear about Jesus going to the temple in Jerusalem and finding people selling oxen, sheep and doves as well as money changers sitting inside what should be a sacred building. Jesus was furious at the sight of his father’s house being used as a market place. He kicked them all out. When he was challenged about his authority and abilities, by the Jews, he made this statement: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews mocked Jesus and told him construction had been occurring for 46 years and question His ability to do as he said he could and raise it in 3 days.

The heart of the passage though goes back to what we learned through the first and second readings. The Jews were not looking for signs of Christ in the face of what he was saying to truly see what he was telling them. He was telling them that by their disrespect for His Father by using the temple as a market place, you might as well destroy the temple of Jesus’ body itself. His challenge to them was even though they destroyed the temple of His body, the love shown through the works of His Father were greater and the temple (His body) would be resurrected in three days!

Our readings today, are on the face difficult to read and sometimes understand. To me, they can all be broken down and followed by doing one simple thing: Loving. Loving one another as Christ has loved you. If we place the face of Christ upon all we encounter, it makes following the Commandments that much easier to do and accept. It makes the challenges that we encounter daily more Christ filled because we are allowing ourselves to see Christ looking back at us through the eyes of others.

God bless you today and always.

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