One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

March 19, 2006

For the Third Sunday of Lent

John 2:13-25

Today in the crowded Temple, Christ acts with violence.
Charging into the temple as its owner, he takes a whip to drive out the merchants, the money-changers and the livestock.
He throws the money to the ground and topples the cashier tables.
Then he openly proclaims his own lordship over the temple by declaring it to be the house of “MY Father”.

Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!

The people ask him for a sign, a miracle, to back up his actions and claims.
He answers them.
Without explaining that he is now speaking of his own body, he again proclaims himself “Lord” by telling them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
Death on the first day, and resurrection on the third.
After the Lord rose from the dead, the pattern of today’s Gospel, the pattern of the Lord’s behavior and claims today, and the pattern of his death and resurrection are repeated in the early history of his followers.
After the Lord ascends into the invisible glory of heaven, his body on earth, the Church simultaneously grows and suffers destruction in Roman imperial persecution.
Three days—or, rather, three centuries later—the Lord purges Rome of pagan worship, raises up his body the Church, and brings the emperor himself to the worship of Christ, the Father and the Spirit.
In the year of our Lord 313, the Roman emperor Constantine decreed freedom for the Christian faith.
Under Constantine, Christianity began to replace the worship of Roman idols.
Christ, his Father and the Holy Spirit now claimed all worship in the former imperial audience halls where the emperor himself used to be worshipped as a god.
The Gospel of Christ now rang out in Rome—even today’s very Gospel—with Christ declaring his lordship over the empire of Rome, too: “MY Father’s house.”
The Church is the House of Our Father.
Through Baptism, God the Father has received us into his house, his Church, as his sons and daughters.
Together with Christ, each of us may lay claim to the Church as “MY Father’s house.”
Today in his Gospel, Christ teaches us that the Church is also his Body.
His own Immortal Flesh already embraces our own mortal bodies.
His own Healing Blood is already married to our wounded nature.
Christ the Son of God claims each of us and all together as his own Body.
Zeal for us consumes the Son of God, and he fights to drive from us, as from his own body, the disease and commerce of sin.
The Church is also the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Each one of us in the Church is also a temple of the Holy Spirit.
The FATHER sends the SPIRIT of his SON into our hearts.
From within our hearts, the SPIRIT sends up the SON’S cry of “ABBA! FATHER!” into the heart of the FATHER. [Cf. Gal. 4:6.]
This is what Saint Paul says [Cf. 1 Cor. 3:16-17].

you are the temple of God . . .
the Spirit of God dwells in you . . .
the temple of God,
which you are,
is holy

In his own Flesh and Blood, the Son of God wants to charge into each of our hearts as into his own holy temple.
May his loving zeal for the Father’s house consume us, and may our own repentance and faith work with him to drive the commerce of sin from our lives.

That God Be Glorified in All


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