This reflection is for the readings for Year B, which are used in places where no Scrutinies are taking place this Sunday.

Last week we heard that at his Transfiguration, Jesus met Moses [representing the law] and Elijah [representing the prophets] and we know from another Gospel [Luke 9:31] account of the Transfiguration, that Jesus discussed with them what was going to take place in Jerusalem.

This week in our first reading we hear how God told Moses about the laws the people were to live by; these laws still apply for us today. The ten Commandments set out how we are to love God and love our neighbour and they are the foundation stone for many of the laws of many countries; as they also set out reasonable and practical ways for people to live in community. History has shown that when communities or civilizations move away from these laws; the days of those communities are numbered as discord breaks out and anarchy reigns.

The psalm used today, is an indication and an instruction for us ‘You, Lord, have the message of eternal life’. The verses of the psalm encourage us to trust in God, because the laws of the Lord will give us true happiness, they light up our life, they are worth more than gold and taste sweeter than the sweetest of honey.

St Paul tells us that Christ’s resurrection defies human logic; but that this is okay because God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisest of human minds.

In today’s Gospel we hear how Jesus reacted to the misuse of the Temple. It had been turned into a marketplace, with money changers and sellers of birds and livestock. No doubt the temple officials were receiving an income from those based there. They asked him for a justification of his actions and what sign he would give. Jesus said that he would destroy the temple and raise it up again in three days.

As Christians we know the temple he was speaking about was his own body. We know that the whip He made out of cords would be replaced by the sound of the soldiers whips as they scourged Jesus. We know that the animals originally meant for sacrifice and now set free would no longer be needed as a sacrifice; as the innocent Lamb of God would take their place and become the Paschal Sacrifice for the New Covenant. We are told that at the hour when Jesus died, the curtain of the temple would be torn, lightning would flash across the sky and thunder ring out throughout the land as God sees what mankind; his creations; could do to his beloved Son.

During Lent we are given these readings to ponder, we are reminded of the laws, and asked to look at our conscience, when we think about the laws handed down to us from God, via Moses, we are asked to repent the sins we have committed and to turn away from them. Instead turn back towards the Lord. When we think about St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we are to ask ourselves, are we like the Jews who demand to see miracles, or the Greeks who look for wisdom, or are we like St Paul? Do we preach the crucified Christ by what we do and what we say?

When we think about the Gospel, how do we react when we see something which is not right? Are we passive about it or do we react? Jesus was not passive, Jesus stood up for what is right and obeyed his Father.

What do we need to do today, to obey our Father in heaven? When I visited Fr Patrick during this week to plan with him the Liturgy in Tadley and Burghfield Common this weekend, he gave me a couple of cards to sign. These were both related to protecting unborn children from abortion. There are moves within this country to make abortion up until birth legal. This cannot be right. When we look at today’s Gospel and see how Jesus reacted to the misuse of the Temple, we realise that we are called to be people who put our faith into action. We have a voice, the children in their mother’s wombs do not. We need to use our voices to speak for those children. Abortion breaks one of God’s laws. God said we are not to kill.

Finally, I’d like to remember the people who are taking part in the Scrutinies throughout the world today. I’m told that at the recent Rite of Election Portsmouth Cathedral was full of people looking to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. These are new people coming into the Church. The world will tell us that we are irrelevant, however, as a Church we are still growing. I have noticed this in the churches where I serve. The number of people attending seems to be growing. God is still calling people to Him; our part is to help with the call by living out the message of the Gospel and ensuring that when we see someone new that we help them to feel welcome.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Third Sunday of Lent

CCC 459, 577-582: Jesus and the Law
CCC 593, 583-586: Temple prefigures Christ; he is the Temple
CCC 1967-1968: the New Law completes the Old
CCC 272, 550, 853: Christ’s power revealed in the Cross

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Those discerning a vocation and those considering coming into the Catholic Church.
  • The innocent people caught up in wars and conflicts around the world, but especially those in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
  • Those preparing for Sacraments this Easter.