Monday, March 16, 2009

Third Sunday in Lent

Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17
1 Cor 1:22-25
Jn 2:13-25

Rules. We certainly seem to have enough of them. Why should we have so many? Why have any rules at all? We are, after all, free agents, able to do what ever we want. Ah, able to do what ever we want. So I suppose that explains why we have so many rules. We need a guide, something to follow, something to help us understand what we need to do, what we should do. In the first reading we have the basic rules, the Ten Commandments. These Commandments are the basis for much of our law, church and secular. These rules should be so much a part of us that we follow their guidance almost automatically. The only problem is that we don’t. We rebel, we hate rules, we hate being told what to do. We want to make sure we are taking care of number one, and if that involves bending or even breaking a few rules, well too bad. In the Gospel Jesus encounters those who are certainly watching out for themselves, not caring about what rules or norms they may be violating. They set up shop in the midst of the Temple precincts and fleece the worshipers as they go into the Temple. Were they providing a needed service? Yes, they provided the items needed for proper worship and sacrifice. But they were also turning the Temple into a marketplace. They lost sight of why the Temple was there, what the purpose of the Temple and even the purpose of their presence there was. Worshiping God, offering praise to God, seeking help from God, expressing love for God. That was the purpose of the Temple. It was the place to do these things. It was not meant to be a place of commerce and profit. It was meant to be a place about love, God’s love for them and their love for God. Remember that love, and suddenly the rules make sense, the rules do become easy to follow.
Why gather today in Church? Do we come together to worship our God, or do we come for other reasons? There are many things that can be factors in why we gather, rules being one of them. Nothing wrong with that, it is good that we come together, because by coming together and giving ourselves to worship, giving ourselves to God, we begin to understand that there is a better reason for our gathering, a reason that surpasses any other. When this happens the rules have served their purpose, they bring us to God, they bring us to love.

Deacon John
Third Sunday in Lent
March 15, 2009

P.S. On a completely non-theological note I have to say LOUISVILLE CARDINALS, CHAMPS OF THE BIG EAST OVERALL NO 1 SEED. WHOO-HOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!