As we continue our Lenten journey in these 40 days, we come upon the third Sunday of Lent. Our spiritual journey has led us to the point where the identity of Jesus is once again clearly proclaimed in today’s Gospel.
John gives witness today of Jesus in the temple. Jesus proclaims His Divine identity, referring to the temple as, “His Father’s house”.
Jesus directs the crowd to proper relationship with God the Father and therefore proper behavior in the temple, ie. His Father’s House. The crowd had moved away from focusing on their relationship with God and moved towards focusing their attention on themselves and the profit they could make at the marketplace. They had lost focus. The very place where they were supposed to most be aware of God‘s presence they had turned into a place of earthly gain. Jesus redirects them towards things of heaven namely their relationship with God
Before we become too critical of the crowd, let us ask ourselves a question of our own focus on God. Lent is the season when we are most especially focused on our relationship with God especially as He gave His life for us on the Cross. So let us be honest with ourselves and ask this question, do we lose focus in terms of our relationship with God? Do we forget ? Do we become distracted by earthly concerns and anxieties? How much thought do we of of each day to the fact that our God died for us? When you are feeling isolated or lonely or sad, do you remember this powerful act of love from God to you?
When you love someone very much we often invoke the saying, “I would give my life for him. Or – I would give my life for her”. Sometimes we say to someone you love very much, “I would die for you if I had to.” And yet this was done for us. Someone loves you so very much that that person gave they’re very life for you. And that person is Jesus. Moreover that person is God! Do we realize how amazing this is?!
I think all of us can become very distracted by the concerns of our lives and our daily living. We can like the crowd of the marketplace be focused on our own activities. The season of Lent we are called to focus on our relationship with God. In Lent we are most especially called to be in awe of what our God did for us. Our response can only be one of overwhelming gratitude and joy. We know that we are so loved. We know that we are so loved by our God.
In our scripture reading today St Paul writes that this very act of Jesus on the Cross causes confusion among many people. And yet we understand it and except it as an act of love. We also rejoice that things do not end with the sacrifice of the Cross. As Jesus foretells in today’s Gospel, indeed there will be His death, but three days later will be His Resurrection.
So as we focus this Lent on our relationship with God and on His great act of sacrifice of the Cross, we are overwhelmed with gratitude at this most powerful act of love. Additionally we are also in awe as we recall it’s saving effect. We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the joyous news that we are offered eternal life. Death is not the end of us. Death is not the end of our loved ones. This is something else to focus on during this Lent. How amazing it is that not only does our God love us so much that He gave His life for us – but He also gives us eternal life.
My prayer for you today is that you always remember this. No matter your significant concerns and possible distractions, always remember in Lent and every day…
You have a God who loves you. You have a God who died for you. You have a God who offers you eternal life.
This is the Good News of Jesus Christ.