Third Sunday of Lent

First reading: Exodus 20:1-17

The Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Responsorial: from Psalm 19

R./: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. (R./)

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye. (R./)

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just. (R./)

Second reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Christ crucified is our focus, calling a halt to all factions and disputes

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Gospel: John 2:13-25

Jesus purifies the Temple of commercial defilement; then proclaims himself the New Temple

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!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six Years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Reflection:  Anger is a legitimate human emotion

Anger is a legitimate human emotion. As such, it is indifferent: it is neither good nor bad. There are two kinds of anger. The anger displayed by Jesus when he drove out the moneychangers and vendors in the Temple is called righteous anger. He was simply consumed by his love for the Father: ‘Zeal for your house consumes me!’ He did not hurt anyone, nor did he utter expletives and bad words. His action was a lesson to the people about a new understanding of the Temple and a challenge to a life of purity and holiness. The other kind of anger is sinful, and it is, in fact, one of the seven capital or deadly sins. This is the anger, which is motivated by egoism, pride, vengeance and a desire to inflict harm on others. It is this anger that has caused so much violence, pain and sufferings in the world today.

To be angry is a perfectly human emotion or feeling. But we have always to examine our motivations. That is why we are warned to always have control over our emotions. These are the irascible and concupiscible appetites in our human nature. We just cannot let them go out of hand. As true man, Jesus had these same appetites, but he had perfect control over them. Controlling our emotions and feelings is part of self-discipline. Control is different from suppression. While suppression is unhealthy, control is self-mastery. It is a clear indication of a mature personality. But this is not easy. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, vigilance and a lifetime of practice. That is how to develop the Christian virtues. For every capital sin, there is corresponding virtue that has to be developed in order to combat these sins. The season of Lent is always a good opportunity for us to exercise our virtues and practice self- discipline. Fasting and abstinence are some of the most common practices towards achieving this goal. Basically, it is the practice of self- denial that will help us.– An extract from a reflection in Catholic for Life