March 11, 2012 – Third Sunday of Lent
Ex 20:1-17; Ex 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17; Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11; 1 Cor 1:22-25; Jn 2:13-25
In the gospel reading today, Jesus, upon seeing all the buying and selling that was taking place in the temple, flips over tables and throws coins to the ground. At first glance, his reaction seems a bit radical. As Mark tells it, Jesus even “made a whip out of chords.” Indeed, it is radical, and for good reason. Jesus wants to call the people’s attention to what’s important. He is angry that the temple has become a marketplace. Jesus’ reaction tells us just how important worshipping God really is. We simply must put him before all else, and we must live our lives accordingly.
Yet Jesus doesn’t tell us that and simply expect us to listen to Him. He takes it to heart in His own life here on Earth, putting the Father’s will above His own wants, even to the point of death. On the cross, Christ offers us an example of just how selfless we must be as Christian stewards. We are called to follow the Lord, and put His will for us before our own. It is, then, to the cross we look to discover what should be our way of life — a complete and total gift of ourselves to the Lord, offering our time, talents, and treasures to serve Him. And for some (those whom we call martyrs), this gift of self will involve a sacrifice to the point of death.
As St Paul reminds us in the second reading “there is great power in the cross.” When we respond to Christ’s call by following His example and giving ourselves completely in love and service to God and neighbor, we will feel incredibly fulfilled.