Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
March 15.D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Exodus 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
A reflection on today's Scripture:
For most young people, it is very important to look, think, and act "cool." If someone indulges in a sudden burst of anger before their friends, they are said to be "losing it." Both young people and adults shy away from people when they are angry. Yet, there is such a thing as "righteous anger."
In today's first reading from Exodus, God the Father lays down His Law with great clarity. He even warns his chosen people in this passage about the Law that He is a jealous God, and will punish infractions severely. It is absolutely required that we "bow down" before His Majesty, and before no other "false gods." In this passage, God also commands that we set aside one day a week for worship -- the Sabbath (for Christians, this means Sunday).
This Lent is a good time for us to meditate on that passage, making some real changes in the choices we make for Sunday activities. Many parents just give up trying to contend with sports activities, yet we know how important our weekly worship is in God's eyes. Perhaps we could look at it this way: What excuses are we planning to make on Judgment Day?
In the Gospel, we find the most shocking example of Jesus' righteous anger in all of Scripture. Jesus loved the Temple because it was His Father's House. He deeply resented the circus atmosphere that He found at entrance. All entering the temple had to pay a tax. Since the religious authorities would not accept the Roman coin with its image of the "divine Emperor," all foreign money had to be converted at the door, often at a fat profit for the money lenders. So Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove these extortionists out of the temple, overturning their tables, and spilling the coins in every direction. In the stunned silence, the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign to prove His authority to do this. What a sign He gave! "Destroy this temple (meaning His body), and I will rebuild it in three days." Only after the Resurrection would even His disciples understand what He meant.
Do we ever exert righteous anger against injustice in our day? Do we get angry enough to protest against those who destroy babies in the womb, those who enslave women and children for sinful purposes, those who have stolen the pensions and life-savings of the poor? This is anger in the face of injustices which cry to heaven. They certainly provide ample reason for us to make reparation for them this Lent by our fasting, our prayer, and our almsgiving. We are all sacred temples of God's Spirit, so much loved by Jesus that He died on a cross to set us free. Lent is a time for us to reflect often on these truths, and witness to them by our actions.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, March 15, 2009
Third Sunday of Lent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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