Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Third Sunday of Lent: Do not be afraid

Sunday, March 08, 2015

“The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!’” (John 2:13-16)

For many people the picture of Jesus from this passage of the Gospel can be really surprising and even unsuitable for them. We know very well that Jesus is a humble master, who calls “the poor in spirit”, “the meek” and those that “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. So how we should understand Jesus who lashing out and driving all the money changers out of the temple?

It is really interesting that the Church has linked this Gospel with a passage from the Book of Exodus. On the Third Sunday of Lent, during the Liturgy of the Word in the first reading, we read the Decalogue which was given by God to Moses and all Israelites. Through the Decalogue, God established His law, which cleanses and sanctifies of the People of God. “You shall have no other gods”. “You shall not make for yourself an idol”. “You shall not steal”. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”. And in the temple Jesus is shouting at people at the top of his voice: “You shall not”! Jesus wants to cleanse his Father’s house, in order that the People of God may sanctify themselves.

Lent is a good time for us to hear Jesus’ voice and his call to cleanse and sanctify ourselves. Each of us is God’s temple and we are invited to live in communion with him. Especially during Lent Jesus wants to cleanse us of our sins, bad attachments and conduct. So we need to hear the words “You shall not” and understand them as directed to us personally - in spite of the fact that it might be really difficult and painful like the “whip of cords” of which we hear today in John’s Gospel. Firstly, we should look honestly at ourselves in the mirror, in light of what the Decalogue says. But to be truly cleansed, it is important to allow the Lord's words, “You shall not”, to be understood by the heart, so that we will enact them upon our life. And do not be afraid. Jesus doesn’t want to actually make a whip of cords in order to harm you, rather he would like to free you and make you more beautiful in your life.

Br Mateusz Grzelczak O.P.

Br Mateusz Grzelczak O.P.

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