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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 8 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 8 2015)
Theme: God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom

Taylor Sauer, 18, was an intelligent high school graduate who met her untimely death on Jan. 12 2012 when she ran into a truck while messaging a facebook friend as she drove. It was later discovered that Taylor posted on facebook every 90 seconds while driving. After her burial, her parents Clay and Shauna Sauer became lobbyist in their home state Idaho (U.S) urging the state legislature to pass a law banning texting or facebooking while driving. The father said “I think every state should have the texting ban law, it might not make changes right now, but for the young generations, it will be an educational tool, just like the seat belt law”.

From the background of this story, we see a law (like the law banning texting/facebooking while driving) not as anything evil but as a necessary good to prevent a potential evil. This means that law-givers do not give or make laws for punishment or to deprive people of comfort but to ensure people’s safety and general well-being. This is how we have to understand the divine laws/commandments given to us in the first reading (Ex. 20:1-7). These laws were given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai for the observance of all Israelites and by extension, all people of God. The commandments should not be seen as punishments but as guides that will help us live a fulfilled life in our relationship with God and our neighbours. If there had been a law prohibiting facebooking while driving, Taylor might not have been so unfortunate if she was conscious of the law. Therefore, the commandments prove God’s love for us and they make us always conscious of the good we ought to do and the evil we ought to avoid. The Ten Commandments are all important and none should be considered more important than the other, but for today’s reflection, let us examine the 6th and 9th commandments.

In obeying these Commandments and in deed all others, we should try to obey the spirit of the Law and not just the letter of the Law. For instance, the 6th commandment forbids adultery in letter but forbids all sorts of immorality (masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, lesbianism, etc.) in spirit. Likewise the other commandments forbid more than they say in their letters. Many people think that in so far as they do not commit adultery, they do not gravely sin when they indulge in other forms of inordinate sexual behaviours. That is why our streets are full of half-clothed people, our entertainment movies are gradually turning into pornography, our billboards and advert spaces are covered with erotic contents and cases of sexual violence and abuse keep on increasing daily. 

It is interesting to note that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:15-20) and when we violate the 6th and 9th commandments in their letters and spirits, we desecrate this precious temple of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, some of the sins condemned in these commandments have been commercialized and even their commercialization has been legalized in most countries. More people are getting involved in prostitution either as prostitutes or as customers. Some are even unaware that they are prostituting when they give in to the sexual advances of some benefactors/benefactresses, or friends or even relatives just for material benefits. When we desecrate God’s Living Temple in us, we risk attracting divine vengeance. In the gospel reading (John 2:13-25), we see what happens to a desecrated temple – Jesus visits it with a whip and cleanses it by driving the sellers and money-changers away and overturning their tables. 

Beloved friends, this period of lent is a period of reflection to see how much of the commandments we have obeyed and how much of God’s Temple we have desecrated through our sexual misconducts. This is the moment to visit the Temple of God in our hearts, drive away every form of sinful words, thoughts and actions we are habouring and overturn the tables we have built to solidify our sinful habits. These tables could mean our ideologies and life patterns. If we don’t do these ourselves, then Jesus could come and do them for us in his own way which we may not be comfortable with. When God gives us an opportunity for repentance, He is not being foolish. He is only being patient and merciful. Remember the 2nd reading (1 Cor. 1:22-25) assures us that even what we may consider as “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom”. God loves you. Happy Sunday.   

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