READINGS for 2006-03-19
NO MONOPOLY OF GRACE
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple. ? John 2:15
Walking to Jerusalem, 6-year old Joshia felt very proud. After all, it was he who chose the lamb their family was going to offer to God. His Daddy explained that unless a sacrifice was made in the Temple, they wouldn?t be forgiven of their sins.
Lord, thank You for grace. Overflowing, rampaging, reckless grace!
The Ten Commandments were the measure of holiness for centuries. One of the major goals of the Jews? life was to keep the Commandments and so make him or her self-righteous in the eyes of God. Jesus does not abolish the Commandments. He overlays them with a new governing principle, the principle of love. This principle is not unknown to the Jews but we Christians give it a far greater prominence than ever before. All that we do must be done in love for either God or our neighbor. In loving them well, we will discover that this necessarily involves keeping all of the Commandments.
1 Then God delivered all these commandments 2 ?I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. 3 You shall not have other gods besides me. 4 You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 5 you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers? wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; 6 but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain. 8 Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. 9 Six days you may labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. 11 In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. 13 You shall not kill. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 You shall not covet your neighbor?s house. You shall not covet your neighbor?s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.?
P S A L M
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
7  The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. (R) 8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye; (R) 9  the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just; (R) 10  they are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb. (R)
Paul is not ashamed that the centerpiece of the Gospel is a crucified God.This is an amazing fact as most religions or organizations will have a glorious remembrance of victory as their reason for existing. However, those of us on the path to salvation know because we have experienced the power of the cross at work in our lives, that the death of Jesus is actually a glorious victory over sin and death. Let us live in the light of this victory every day.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
G O S P E L
The cleansing of the Temple has the religious significance of calling each one of us to cleanse our hearts and minds, the living Temple of the Holy Spirit, from all sin and defilement. It is not just the building of God that ought to be kept sacred, but more importantly our own bodies must be kept free from all defilement of sin. Jesus? action reminds us to prioritize the holiness of our lives among all the tasks that we perform on a daily basis.
3 Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. 15 He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, 16 and to those who sold doves he said, ?Take these out of here, and stop making my Father?s house a marketplace.? 17 His disciples recalled the words of scripture, ?Zeal for your house will consume me.? 18 At this the Jews answered and said to him, ?What sign can you show us for doing this?? 19 Jesus answered and said to them, ?Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.? 20 The Jews said, ?This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?? 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the Word Jesus had spoken. 23 While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. 24 But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 25 and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
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LEARNING TO RESPECT THE SACRED
When I met Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (she may be a saint by the time this goes to print), the first thing she did as I watched her enter the Church was to walk directly towards the Blessed Sacrament, genuflect and say a short prayer, and then return to greet the bishops and dignitaries who were waiting to welcome her. I do not think that I will ever forget that experience and I pray that I will be better able to imitate it.
Holy Spirit, I want You to dwell in my heart in all your power and glory. Help me to identify the areas in which I have to repent and change in order to live in the fullness of all that God promises me as His child.
St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us
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