March 8th. Third Sunday of Lent Year B.

In our gospel Christ drives out traders who were ripping off poor Temple devotees. Like the present cult of economics, the concern of the Pharisees was with their Temple business. Christ, opposing corruption there, had to be silenced, despite God’s command: “thou shall not kill”. Greed can be as ruthless among us today. Lets repent of any grasping hardness in our lives…

What’s the most important part of the mass? Of course the communion. But after that some would say the dismissal: “Let us go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord”. How is that so important? The point is that the mass is useless if we don’t live it out in daily lives. God says go and live what you celebrate.
Christ in today’s gospel says the same. Temple priests were supposed to serve God, in fact they used the temple for sordid gain. They manipulated the difference in money exchange so that the devout poor paid exorbitant prices for offerings. No wonder Christ was angry: “my house is a house of prayer, you’ve made it a den of thieves”. They professed to serve God but served money.
We too can profess faith but live the opposite; only Christian living authenticates our faith. Of course there’s human weakness: we want to serve God but are led astray by worldly lures. Knowing this, God gives us Christ, scripture, and the church as sure guides. Its difficult by ourselves, but by these ways to God’s grace we can shake off the tyranny of corruption and greed.
In today’s worldly climate that may seem hard. But we should remember that ultimately we’re more than citizens of the world. In Christ’s power we can overcome all corruption, and where we fail to to do so his forgiveness restores us. The trick is to struggle on, pick ourselves up constantly and trust in his grace to lead us ultimately to a wholesome integrity of life.
But why persist in this effort to obey God rather than the corrupt world. Basically because its for our good. God doesn’t give us laws because he’s a policeman; he gives sound guidance because he wants our happiness. The 10 commandments were given to the Jews as the final part of their liberation from slavery. That’s also true of Christ’s commands. Obeying him is a sure way to real freedom and happiness within. Drug dealers with pads in Spain, killing off all opposition at home, may have money but how are they inside? Freedom is not in soul-destroying riches but in the joy of doing what’s right. Licence leads to enslaving habits, harming us and society, but Christ’s integral way frees us.
It was to free people that Christ cleansed the money-grubbing Temple. Lets cleanse any such corruption in our lives and return to God’s love; lets save our own and the world’s soul. Lets build his kingdom of love, peace, justice and truth on earth. Lets live what we profess as the church Christ died to free from evil, to make all people free children of God in this life and the next.
Our so-called liberal age can be like the buyers in the Temple. It would have us serve false enslaving gods of greed that close our hearts to Christ and the way of the blessed; that keep our eyes focussed on the earth, never allowing them to look up to heaven. He came to raise us up from that; so that we might truly live on a higher freer plane. At this mass dismissal lets go out to love and follow Christ, the temple of our hearts cleansed of greed, violence and immoral living to serve the living God on the highest plane of light. For the corrupt world’s ways leads but to dust & ashes, but He is the way, the truth, and the life for our freedom and happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen.
As God’s own, cleansing our inner temple from all enslavement, so as to rise with Christ at Easter lets profess our faith…

Prayers of the Faithful
We pray for our Holy Father and all the leaders of the church that they may cleanse the church of today to really worship and serve Christ and so make it a real Temple of the living God…

For the leaders of civil society that they may not worship the gods of corrupt politics, gain and global money interests, but serve the people, especially the poor, in justice & integrity.

For ourselves, at work or at home, may we deal with those under us with fiscal and other forms of integrity, justice & love.

For the sick, the old, the lonely and the needy that they may know the love of Christ through our love and care for them..

For the dead that cleansed of all evil they may attain to their heavenly home with the help of our prayers and pure offerings..

And we ask all these prayers through Christ who showed us in the cleansing of the temple to the way to true worship of God and true honest service of the world and fellow human beings, amen.

Our Father: so as the people of God called to cleanse our hearts & worship, like Christ cleansed the temple, lets pray to our heavenly Father in the words that same Christ gave us.

I sometime think that tackling abuse scandals in the church is a kind of cleansing of the temple now. Its forcing us to live up to the real essence of our Christian calling, the care of the young, the weak and the vulnerable. A hierarchical church of power and arrogance, living in palaces and protecting those who prey on the innocent is a Pharisaical church. Like Christ we must sweep all that away. We must replace it with a humble serving and truly Christian church for our challenging times. For Christ says those who lead in his church shouldn’t lord it over them but be humble servants of all in truth. Lets wash each other’s feet as he did in a simple, integral and cleansed church..Hail Mary

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