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Sunday, March 23, 2003

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Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 20:1-17
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Psalm 19
John 2:13-25

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the cleansing of the consumers

"His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: 'Zeal for Your house consumes Me.' " —John 2:17

Those selling animals for sacrifice at the Temple and those exchanging coins had provided necessary services for centuries. Consequently, Jesus' cleansing of the Temple was puzzling.

To understand this, we need to see the Temple as a prefigurement of the Church, which Jesus loves so much even to the point of laying down His life for her (Eph 5:25). We go to Church; Jesus dies for her. We may see the Church as a group of people or a building. Jesus sees it as His body (e.g. Eph 1:22-23) and His bride (see Eph 5:27ff). Jesus' attitude toward the Church is characterized by zeal and self-sacrifice (see Jn 2:17; Ps 69:10). Jesus was consumed by His love for the Church.

As disciples of Jesus, do we have Jesus' attitude toward His Church? Is the Church our passion, our love, and our joy? Do we do the minimum or the maximum for His Church? Do we relate to the Church as consumers or as those being consumed? Do we look at the Church for value, convenience, and service? Do we "go to the Church of our choice"? Or do we let ourselves be consumed by the Church and her Head, Jesus? 

In this Lent, join His Church by His standards.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to prepare the Church for Jesus' return. Make the Church "holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort" (Eph 5:27).

Promise:  "For God's folly is wiser than men, and His weakness more powerful than men." —1 Cor 1:25

Praise:  Praise Jesus, risen Lord and the Head of the Church!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape, The Church in God's Plan, on audio AV 67-3 or video V-67.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002