3rd Sunday of Lent
March 4, 2018
Do you not know that you are a temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
There is only one place in the Scriptures where Jesus is seen resorting to an act of violence, and this is when he drove the corrupt moneychangers out of the temple. These days, the temple that Jesus really wants to cleanse is the temple of our soul. Jesus is very zealous that this temple within us, which is immortal, be as clean as possible.
Jesus is truly willing to cleanse the temple of our hearts, but first we need to let him in so he can get to work. Jesus will never force his way in. Our hearts are often cluttered with many things vying for our attention, and some of these are sins. Sin can block the door of our heart and keeps the Lord from entering.
Make room for Christ in your busy heart! The best way to clean house and allow the Lord to purify our heart is by making a good confession. The Lord has given us this marvelous sacrament: whatever sins we bring to him there will not be brought up again at the end of our lives. This is a very good deal. All it takes is a little self-knowledge and a dose of humility. If you never go to confession, you may be lacking one of these.
Another way Jesus likes to use to purify us and cleanse our inner temple is by what the spiritual masters used to call contradictions. A contradiction occurs in our life when our will is crossed: when things don’t go our way; when we are inconvenienced; when we get sick; when we pick the wrong line at the grocery store; when our children are acting up and we are tired, and a thousand other ways.
Perhaps a better word to use for contradiction would be opportunity. When something occurs that is not to my liking, or inconveniences me, or makes me look bad, or embarrasses me, or slows me down or gets me down, we may not realize that these are all opportunities to allow Jesus to continue cleansing our temple. These kinds of things are pure gold in the spiritual life: they teach us patience and maturity; they remind us that we are not, in fact, the center of the universe; they remind us to place God in the center and to think about others before ourselves. Jesus still wants to purify the temple – if we will only let him in.