Third Sunday of Lent
Jesus is busy with a whip and indignation in our Gospel this Sunday, clearing out and cleansing. Clearing out is a very good theme for us to contemplate during this Holy Season of Lent. Those of you who over the years have had to clear out a relative’s home, or have yourselves moved house, will understand what a task that can be. We all seem to keep so much and the longer we are in one place the more that seems to accumulate! As I well know after spending nearly 20 years abroad. But clearing out and sorting out is good for us both practically and spiritually for it challenges our priorities: – what is really necessary and what is important?
The Temple in Jerusalem was to be the supreme place for the Hebrew people to encounter the presence of God. A place of Holiness, peace and prayer but as Jesus discovered it had gradually become a noisy cacophony of animal sales and market traders, and He reacted with passion!
At our baptism we Christians receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit to dwell in our souls, the ‘Light of Christ’ to be nurtured and shine out in us as we grow as disciples of Jesus. St Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth (1 Cor 6:19) that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, He who lives in us by Grace. Lent is our time to do a bit of cleansing, clearing out of that temple within, getting rid of the clutter of old habits, past sins, neglected virtues. It’s a reminder that the ‘work’ of conversion, our conversion, is always a work in progress and contrition. But examining our lives is often something we run from, put off, leave for another day or time, a bit like sorting out the attic, the spare room or our wardrobe. Examining our lives is never easy: it requires courage to reflect on our behaviour. This is the great beauty which the ‘Health check’ that coming to confession gives us. Forgiveness and Reconciliation is the ‘medicine’ we all need, as in the secrecy of the confessional we admit our faults and failings, clear out the temple of the Holy Spirit within us of it clutter: harsh words, bad deeds and thoughts, failures etc which prevent the Light of Christ to shine from us and there to receive the healing of Christ in the words of absolution.
Cleansed, Renewed, Restored, ‘Temples of God’s love’
Let’s get the ‘brushes’ out and the ‘black bags’ and have a good clear out of our souls, praying that the Holy Spirit will bless us with passion in our task. Shine brighter for Christ.
Deacon David OLW