Third Sunday of Lent: Bulletin cover art and column


March 4

Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

Dear Followers of Jesus,

In our first scripture reading today (Exodus 20), God proclaims to us, “I am a jealous God.” This statement is more than a statement; rather these words are an invitation for us even in our generation to make God the center of our lives and loves. The text outlines the Ten Commandments. However, the text is more than suggesting we live by external rules and obligations. This scripture invites us into a deep and profound intimacy with God.

Our gospel today also proclaims such an intimacy when Jesus is upset with how people are treating the Temple area. He is trying to tell them He is the source of love, the new temple. His body will become the new temple, all that is our hearts’ desire. His own action of passion, death and resurrection will show us the way to the Father. He tosses out the abuse he sees when we get caught up in the trap that faith is a commodity and we objectify our faith.

In these Lenten days, we capture a glimpse that God desires the best for us. We are invited on a journey where all the obstacles in life need to be removed from our hearts so that our hearts have a clear and direct path to Christ Jesus. Our sin and division, our lack of peace, our fighting and anger, are all objects Jesus desires to toss out of the temple of His body so that we can find the peace, forgiveness and mercy that is available to us. Our home is in the heart of Christ Jesus and we are invited to live our lives with such hope to other people.

We must be careful that our faith is lived from the call of Christ Jesus and not determined by our political or social persuasions. In the center of violence and chaos, we must remember that God calls us into his nature that is peace and harmony. In the midst of unrest and a lack of forgiveness on our streets and at our breakfast tables, we must remain clear that is not God’s nature. God’s integrity challenges us into heartfelt forgiveness and hope. This is not passive faith. Faith for us is profoundly a challenge of humility and this only happens with a great deal of self-reflection and prayer.

Living lives that keep God at our center is not an easy Lent. However, through our faith comes an entirely new way of viewing the world and all of our relationships. God desires our complete and trusting hearts, our ways of thinking and acting in our world. God desires our total hearts to rest in Him, for He is a jealous God. Let nothing stand in the way of this notion during our Lenten days.

How is God calling you to give every aspect of your life, every moment of violence and every sin, to Him during this Lenten journey?

Peace to you,

Fr. Ron


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