In those days, God delivered all these commandments: “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain. “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.”
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
We proclaim Christ crucified! Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God! The First Letter to the Corinthians is very clear about what we Christian believe and what we proclaim about our belief. This Third Sunday of Lent, we proclaim Jesus by our lives but also by our words. If we are not ready to proclaim Him, we need to ask for more faith.
The Book of Exodus, from which our first reading today is taken, speaks about Moses on the mountain with the Lord, receiving what today we Christians call the Ten Commandments. We also know that at first, when Moses received these teachings, the people below were in complete rebellion. Who is going to believe a crazy religious leader who goes onto a mountain and stays there praying? The people at the time of Moses are normal humans who want food and drink and fun and some assurance that everything will work for their good.
Probably none of the people at the time of Moses could have imagine a crucified Savior. It is only later that the prophets begin to speak about a person suffering and saving others. And even although we ourselves are used to speaking about Jesus crucified, it is still difficult for us to imagine a person in jail or prison becoming somehow a person who might help us or save us. The First Letter to the Corinthians has to be blunt in order to get our attention.
For people in the time of Jesus, it must have been a real challenge to see Jesus entering the temple and telling the money changers to get out. So many of us, as religious people, want the laws to be clear and we want people to do what is right. On the other hand, ordinary people don’t often do everything right and it is just for them that Jesus comes. Jesus is completely clear that He becomes one of us in order to save sinners—not the righteous. Our title to salvation is always the same: we are sinners.
Our challenge as sinners is always the same: love one another, do not judge one another, look to be faithful to God rather than look at the failings of your sisters and brothers. Our calling is to love God and to love one another, especially our enemies.
Once we start to judge, we can find all kinds of ways to judge one another. Let us not go there. Our personal challenge is always to love and serve others, no matter how the other lives, no matter how the other things and no matter if the other is totally against us while saying that he or she is for us. Jesus understands human nature—and so would not put Himself into the hands of others. Rather, He walked alone in the service and love of God.
Sisters and brothers, let us walk with the Lord today and seek God’s will. Let us love and not judge.