Who we are

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.

Ministry Mission

Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.

Peace, Justice, Creation

We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.

Spirituality

We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.

LITURGY NOTES FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

3rd lent

Third Sunday of Lent

March 4th, 2018

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered, (the Gadigal people of the great Eora nation,) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.

We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.

We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.

We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.

or

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land
on which we stand.
We pay our respects to them and for their care of the land.

May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.

or

I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,

the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,

and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.

21cuaresmaB3  03_cua_bthe            cover of America, the Catholic magazine

   

‘For if every [man] were to regard the persons of others as [his] own person, who would inflict pain and injury on others? If they regarded the homes of others as their own homes, who would rob the homes of others? Thus in that case there would be no brigands and robbers. If the princes regarded other countries as their own, who would wage war on other countries? This in that case there would be no more war.’

Hillel, first century A.D. rabbi

One important aspect of justice, …. involves the restoration of what has been stolen. Giving food to the hungry or clothing to the naked is not a charitable handout but an exercise in simple justice - restoring to the poor what is rightfully theirs, what has been taken from them unjustly.
Robert McAfee Brown

Readings

Reading I                      Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11 R. (Jn 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading II           …… 1 Cor 1:22-25

Gospel                           Jn 2:13-25

Penitential Rite

You bring your people from slavery to freedom. Jesus, have mercy.

You overturn the tables of those who exploit the poor. Christ, have mercy.

You call us to freedom by living according to your covenant. Jesus, have mercy.

Opening Prayer

God of freedom, your compassion and goodness,

heal the wounds of sinfulness and division.

May our fasting and prayer lead us

to share our lives and resources

with our sisters and brothers.

May your compassion fill us with hope

and make us living stones of communities

where Jesus lives and reigns.

For the Prayer of the Faithful

Introduction:  Let us pray to the God of the covenant that we may worship with our lives by helping one another to be free. Let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That young people will find courage and agency through their solidarity with one another and raise their voices against greed and injustice , and teach their leaders that silence in the face of injustice is complicity. Let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That the leaders of the Churches, and all the people of God, may have the courage to speak and act when God's laws of justice and love are breached, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That the heads of government and the United Nations may work unceasingly to defend human rights, not by force of weapons but by respecting treaties and agreements, through dialogue and mutual understanding, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That world leaders, especially in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Myanmar, will hear the cries of their people for freedom and strive to overcome the violence against them, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That politicians not use law and order to gain political advantage but consider human frailty and the need for healing through social and community programmes, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That during this Lent, people will respond more and more to God in love and service rather than be overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That people in business avoid every form of worker exploitation, and adhere to the church's teachings about social justice in the workplace, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That governments will uphold the importance of people in the workplace, and those in business respect their needs and talents especially in times of economic difficulties, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         That all women and men who offer themselves as peacemakers in places of conflict and war continue to speak out for truth and justice, may their actions encourage others to overcome their fears, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

·         For the people of Iraq on the third anniversary of the invasion of their country become united in their differences and find peace and freedom, let us pray: Form a new heart within us, O God.

Concluding Prayer: God of freedom, as we make these prayers may we see that your commandment to love involves worshipping in spirit and truth and building a worldwide community of sisters and brothers who are able to look beyond religious and cultural differences.

Prayer over the Gifts

God of freedom,

by the grace of this offering

of the bread of life

and the wine of joy,

Jesus your Son will renew your covenant with us.

May we have the will and love

to be faithful to its demands

even when it means the cross.

Deliver Us

Deliver us, God of freedom, from the evil of sin

and from all that prevents us from listening to you

and those you have given us as our guides.

Help us and our brothers and sisters

to be free from the hunger for power and wealth

and from all oppressive structures

that keep us from living as your people.

Help us to prepare in hope and freedom

for the final coming in glory

of Christ Jesus, our Saviour.  R/ For the kingdom...

Prayer after Communion

God of freedom,

You form a new heart within us.

May Jesus be fully alive in us,

so that our communities may become

a temple in which he lives

and that gathers together

all as his brothers and sisters in unity and peace.

Further Resources

The walls are the publishers of the poor.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

Lenten reflection [The following comes from the Puebla (Mexico) Document of 1979 where the Latin American bishops painted word pictures of the faces of the poor to make the crisis of poverty graphic and concrete].

The poor include the faces of young children, struck down by poverty in the womb that afflicts them with mental and physical deficiencies;

the faces of vagrant children in the cities, often sexually exploited, sometimes murdered;

the faces of young people, frustrated by  lack of opportunity to build a future and robbed of hope in their own existence;

the faces of indigenous peoples disrespected and marginalised into situations where they can barely exist;

the faces of peasants deprived of their land;

the faces of ill-paid labourers and unemployed person who have no options;

the faces of women, old before their time in the struggle to feed their families, discriminated against because of their gender, or trafficked and prostituted;

the faces of African Americans, descendants of slavers scored because of their race;

the faces of overcrowded dwellers in city slums whose lack of material goods is cruelly contrasted with the ostentatious wealth flaunted by others in the city;

the face of old people, cast off as no longer productive.

Multiply by millions: an outrage that cries to heaven

Elizabeth Johnson, Quest for the Living God (Hardcover), p. 72

‘Don't be defeatist, dear; it's very middle-class.’

Downton Abbey

If those who support aggressive war had seen a fraction of what I've seen, if they'd watched children fry to death from Napalm and bleed to death from a cluster bomb, they might not utter the claptrap they do.

John Pilger

The Pain

I was in the temple courtyard

that day when this Jesus came

and walked around among the stalls

at first with shoulders squared

like a centurion on inspection

but the more he saw the more

his shoulders sagged

like one dismayed and overwhelmed

by some gross indecency

institutionalised and on display

without apology

or even hint of reticence.

I watched him move near a door

and as the common pilgrims looked on

he took some cord and plaited a whip

before squaring his shoulders once more

and storming among the stalls

he upended tables and money boxes

while the traders looked on with shock

to see their silver and golden gods

go rolling across the pavement floor

and all the while his whip whirled around

as he drove them with the sheep and cattle

from that holy ground.

The thing I remember most sharply

were the eyes of that young man

not so much glinting with anger

but filled with enormous pain

such as I have never seen before

nor ever have again.

© B D Prewer 2002

My Dream 2000

I Dream...

That on 1 January 2000

The whole world will stand still

In prayer, awe and gratitude

For our beautiful, heavenly Earth

And for the miracle of human life.

I Dream...

That young and old, rich and poor,

Black and white,

Peoples from North and South,

From all beliefs and cultures

Will join hands, minds and hearts

In an unprecendented, universal

Bi-millennium Celebration of Life.

I Dream...

That the year 2000

Will be declared World Year of Thanksgiving

By the the United Nations.

I Dream...

That during the year 2000

Innumerable celebrations and events

Will take place all over the globe

To gauge the long hard road covered by humanity

To study our mistakes

And to plan the feats

Still to be accomplished

For the full flowering of the human race

In peace, justice and happiness.

I Dream...

That the few remaining years

To the Bi-millennium

Be devoted by all humans, nations and institutions

To unparalleled thinking, action,

Inspiration, elevation,

Determination and love

To solve our remaining problems

And to achieve

A peaceful, united human family on Earth.

I Dream...

That the third millennium

Will be declared

And made

Humanity's First Millennium of Peace.

Robert Muller (Chancellor of the University for Peace and Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations)

[The one] who thinks that loving one’s enemies is impractical doesn’t take into account the practical consequences of hating one’s enemies.

Erich Fried

The Church says: the body is a sin.

Science says: the body is a machine.

Advertising says: The body is a business.

The Body says: I am a fiesta.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

Utopia lies at the horizon.

When I draw nearer by two steps,

it retreats two steps.

If I proceed ten steps forward, it

swiftly slips ten steps ahead.

No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.

What, then, is the purpose of utopia?

It is to cause us to advance.
Eduardo Hughes Galeano

The Nobodies

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty:

that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them-will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn't rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever.

Good luck doesn't even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing.

The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.

Who don't speak languages, but dialects.

Who don't have religions, but superstitions.

Who don't create art, but handicrafts.

Who don't have culture, but folklore.

Who are not human beings, but human resources.

Who do not have faces, but arms.

Who do not have names, but numbers.

Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police

blotter of the local paper.

The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others - the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.
Eduardo Hughes Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Celebration of the Human Voice

Some prisoners spent more than ten years buried in solitary cells the size of coffins, hearing nothing but clanging bars or footsteps in the corridors. . .[they] survived because they could talk to each other by tapping on the wall. In that way they told of dreams and memories, fallings in and out of love; they discussed, embraced, fought; they shared beliefs and beauties, doubts and guilts, and those questions that have no answers.

When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied a mouth, it speaks with the hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

I am not particularly interested in saving time; I prefer to enjoy it.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

Human rights pale beside the rights of machines. In more and more cities, especially in the great metropolises of the South, people have been banned. Automobiles usurp human space, poison the air, and frequently murder the interlopers who invade their conquered territory -and no one lifts a finger to stop them. Is there a difference between violence that kills by car and that which kills by knife or bullet?

Eduardo Hughes Galeano, Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World

The big bankers of the world, who practise the terrorism of money, are more powerful than kings and field marshals, even more than the Pope of Rome himself. They never dirty their hands. They kill no-one: they limit themselves to applauding the show.

Eduardo Hughes Galeano

When I was growing up, it was 'Communists'. Now it's 'Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets.

Cindy Sheehan

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.

Dalai Lama XIV

The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies - socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor - and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.

John Pilger

We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Robert F. Kennedy

We have come out of the time when obedience, the acceptance of discipline, intelligent courage and resolution, were most important, into that more difficult time when it is a person's duty to understand the world rather than simply fight for it.

Ernest Hemingway

It's important to realize that whenever you give power to politicians or bureaucrats, it will be used for what they want, not for what you want.

Harry Browne

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

Pericles, 430 B.C.

True patriotism is not worship of our nation but rather, in the light of our worship of the God of justice, to conform our nation's ways of justice.

Robert McAfee Brown

How does one keep from ‘growing old inside’? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are dispensable.
Robert McAfee Brown

The Church cannot be content to live in its stained-glass house and throw stones through the picture window of modern culture.

Robert McAfee Brown

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

President Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America's official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them.

Mark Hertzgaard

The power of the state is measured by the power that (men) surrender to it.

Felix Morley

If the test of patriotism comes only by reflexively falling into lockstep behind the leader whenever the flag is waved, then what we have is a formula for dictatorship, - not democracy... But the American way is to criticize and debate openly, not to accept unthinkingly the doings of government officials of this or any other country.

Michael Parenti

I am only one, but I am one.

I cannot do everything, but I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

What I can do, I should do.

And what I should do,

by the grace of God,

I will do.

Edward Everett Hale

Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.

Albert Einstein

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair

H.L. Mencken

Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’, ‘one against all’, that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism p.227

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with DISCOMFORT ...

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with ANGER ...

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with TEARS ...

To shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them

And to turn their pain into JOY.

And may God bless you with enough FOOLISHNESS...

To believe that you can make a difference in this world,

So that you can DO what others claim cannot be done. Amen

National Council of Churches

God of Grace and God of Glory,

we yearn for commandments which bring life.

Deepen our longing, fire our questions, order our desires.

Deepen our longing to be a journeying people,

known for abiding commitments-

not childish obedience.

Fire our questions about commandments of old,

Knowing they bring life-

And sometimes death.

Order our desires as the poet orders your world,

in awe traversing the vast creation-

and our depths too.

Fire us with zeal that opens doors,

questioning perverse traditions

and ego's house.

Deepen our longings for true Glory:

Presence, Love, Wisdom

Unashamed – Foolish Grace.

Amen

Louis Duffy, Christ driving out the money changers (National Gallery of Victoria).

Reflections on the readings….

One foggy, stormy night at sea, a ship's captain caught sight of what looked like the lights of another ship heading straight towards him.  He ordered a message to be relayed to the oncoming ship: ‘Change your course ten degrees to the south.’

The immediate reply was, ‘Change your course ten degrees to the north.’  The lights were getting closer, so the captain responded firmly, ‘I'm a captain. Change your course south.’ 

But the reply was equally firm, ‘I'm a seaman first class. Change your course north.’

Outraged by this insolence as the lights loomed nearer and nearer, the captain fired back the message, ‘You idiot!  I'm giving you one last chance to change your course south.  I'm on a battleship!’  To which he received the cool reply, ‘I'm giving you one last chance to change your course north.  I'm in a lighthouse.’

We can easily ignore or misunderstand the 'lighthouses' in our lives.

I recently published a statement on Australia’s intention to be among the top ten arms manufacturers in the world. Whether it is realistic or even possible, it still exhibits a mind-set that we seem to be unable to let go of. At the heart of this is the old question: is it about people or about profits? The arms trade does not work to bring about peace but destruction of people, destruction of sentient life, infrastructure and the environment. It does not contribute to the well-being of people. It does not build schools and hospitals. It is does not build roads and railways that serve ordinary people. It is not just another form of trade like the car industry or other manufacturing industry.’ (Claude Mostowik msc, Statement on Trade in Arms by Australia, January 31, 2018). At the same time, I was made aware of a contemporary and very powerful painting by Louis Duffy called Christ driving out the money changers in the National Gallery of Victoria. It depicts sixteen men dressed in business suits and gathered in tense confrontation. It retells today’s gospel story but takes place in a graveyard rather than a temple and the money changers have morphed into arms dealers trading munitions on the graves of the dead: the ultimate profit-and-loss indicators of their grim transactions. And the Christ character stripped to his undershirt wields a truncheon.

It has been suggested that Jesus’ overturning the tables in the temple could be seen as his ‘mission statement.’ (Wes Howard-Brook, ‘John’s Gospel’s Call to Be Reborn of God,’ 85, in The New Testament–Introducing the Way of Discipleship (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2002), eds. Wes Howard-Brook and Sharon H. Ringe.)

The business of selling sacrificial animals and the money changers in the temple precincts was made possible through corrupt arrangements made between the temple authorities and the Roman authorities. The aim was to maximise profits and accommodate bribes- an arrangement that took an unfair advantage of the people, especially the poor who have no option, no choice. For, living without option, without choice, is what being poor means. But Jesus presented options where none existed; he made a path where there was no path. He turned things upside down and sent a message that something new and different might be possible. He was seen by the poor as one who would not accept the unjust status quo without putting up a struggle. Those in power were put on notice that their exploitation of the poor, bribery and fraud was being exposed. Returning my statement, it seems that our country is being prostituted by being willing to join what Pope Francis calls the ‘merchants of death’. Let us remember that the one purpose of arms is to kill and destroy – to kill people who are created in the image and likeness of God

The provocative incident in today’s gospel is recorded in all the gospels. But Jesus’ disruption of the activity in the temple was not the first time that attention was called to such behaviour. Jeremiah (7:11) had warned the priests of his day that the temple had become a den of thieves. Zechariah (14:21) had promised that on the Day of the Lord, no merchant would be found in the temple. Malachi (8:1) castigated the clergy for their abuses in the temple liturgy. Isaiah (15:7) prophesied that the Temple would become a house of prayer that would attract all the nations of the earth.

The Filipino artist, Lino Pontebon painted a picture which he called, The Angry Christ. It depicts the injustice and cruelty suffered by the people on the island of Negros at the hands of government and military. In 1983 nine people were imprisoned and charged with murder [among them an Australian and Irish priest], but their real crime was their social justice work amongst the sugar industry workers and formation of basic Christian communities on the island. The Angry Christ expresses the experience of the people's painful screams coming from Jesus' mouth.

John here is trying to show us who Jesus is: ‘Who are you to do this?’ and he responds, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’ We recognise that Jesus is God present in our midst - not in the temple. The temple of God is Jesus. This is God in our midst, showing us how to live according to the new covenant given to us.  We are being told that this ‘building’ will not bring us closer to God. It is not what makes one holy and human. What is needed is to act justly: ‘do not abuse the stranger, the orphan or the widow. And then I will stay with you in the land I gave your ancestors in times past. Is this house on which rests my name a den of thieves? I have seen this myself, but it is God who speaks.’

Examples of this marketplace mentality are all around us, we see moneymaking schemes in the name of Jesus. Just as Jesus was angry and acted radically to eliminate injustice and greed, so also must the church guard against practices that shut out or even discriminate against the poor. When we plan our programs and community celebrations, do we assume that everyone has the means to participate? One very shameful action that often occurs has been the removal of homeless people from public view when a world leader, or the Pope, or an event such as the Olympics takes place. The care of the poor is to be the primary responsibility of those who belong to Jesus rather than an afterthought.

When Jesus appeared in the temple area, his words and his presence were transformative. He used that moment to speak of another temple, the temple of his body. ‘Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up. As one in whom the very presence of God dwelled, Jesus could readily call himself a temple. Earlier in his Gospel, the evangelist told his readers that Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh and pitched his tent among us (1:14). In Jesus, this God became present to us in flesh and blood, in time and space. Jesus’ words also remind each of us that we, too, are temples, holy places where God has chosen to take up residence. Just as the Jerusalem temple was cleansed of a marketplace mentality, so do we as living temples have to focus not on the transient but on the transcendent, not on ourselves but on God and on those God puts on our way to love and serve.

Though God has many names compassionate lover of justice and liberator of the poor must be among them. As compassionate lover of justice, God is on the side of the oppressed; and to oppress the poor or sin against the poor is to sin against God, to deface God (cf. Proverbs 14:31), or to ‘spit in the face of God’. Jesus did not lose it because the cheating occurred on holy ground but because people were being extorted in the name of religion.  It is wrong in any place or time. 

Today, Jesus forcefully expresses what was in his heart and what he felt all the time. Jesus is not out of control but makes a deliberate action. His passion fires his words and actions. Some people like to make a lot of the fact that Jesus expressed anger in scene.

The cleansing of the temple is an action parable. It sets the stage for what is to come, and helps us understand his Jesus' identity - and mission. They are intertwined. As the psalmist says, ‘God hears the cry of the poor’. Jesus is God’s presence on earth. God is in solidarity with men, women and children who suffer any kind of injustice.  ‘I will live among you. I will be a living temple.’

A new time has come: the sacred place of encounter with God is Jesus’ body, and by extension our relationships with one another – which the temple was meant to do but failed to do. Animals and money-changers are no longer needed.  We encounter God through Jesus, and the Jesus in each other and in the world. Matthew 25 highlights this for us: when you did it for one of the lest of these then you did it for me. I am present in them… and God in me.

Each Church community is a ‘house of prayer’ but we cannot close our eyes in prayer in order to overlook injustice. We break the commandment of taking God's name in vain when it is used to justify war, or claim that we make peace by going to war, or use God to justify our prejudices, e.g., ‘God hates………’; ‘God says……’ I would have had a problem with Jesus had he not expressed anger and had remained silent as do so many leaders in the face of injustice, oppression and other acts of violence.

The ‘new temple’ is made of human beings - open to all and for all. God's people do not need to rely on acts of sacred violence to remain bonded together - the community will be bonded together through service rather than scapegoating violence. The privileged place of God's presence is no longer a building but in Jesus' and our humanity and the humanity of the other.  The building serves as a place to symbolise our unity and challenge us in our mission.

Let's be clear that Jesus' anger is not directed only at those who commit injustice but at those who do not see, will not see, refuse to see, stay silent, are not scandalized, saddened, lacking in passion. This anger is directed at those who remain unchanged by their worship. This Gospel shows Jesus in opposition to any person or group that colludes with the idols and powers of the world and hides God’s presence by neglecting the practice of justice.   The gospel confronts religion that is mixed up with power, money and authority. Worship that ignores the destruction of life seeks to avoid responsibility for nonviolently standing up against evil is not worship.

The lighthouses are there before us.  We must pray for ourselves that we too as individuals and as a nation will deeply understand what Jesus is teaching us through this action. That we will deeply understand it and that we will carry out our lives in the way of Jesus crucified. The way that will bring peace to our hearts and peace to our world. We can close our eyes and ears but we will crash - we lose our humanity.

From our 2018 Lenten Reflection Guide: Embracing Jesus' Practice of Nonviolence

At this the Jews answered and said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’
JOHN 2:18-19

Let us defeat injustice rather than each other 

In this week’s Gospel reading we hear about Jesus’ reaction when he enters the temple in Jerusalem and finds the people have turned God’s house into a marketplace. The temple is bustling with the buying and selling of animals used as sacrifices and services by money changers who help people make their purchases. 

Known as the cleansing of the temple, Jesus ‘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.’ 

The people, naturally, are appalled by Jesus’ action because buying and selling in the temple had become the norm. They ask Jesus ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus replies that he will destroy the temple and raise it up again.

The Gospel of John concludes, ‘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.’

Let’s look at the third principle in Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people. 

‘Nonviolence liberates the oppressed and the oppressors,’ John Dear wrote in Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action. Jesus took a stand against immoral action in the temple without hate for the people and went on to call for love for everyone. ‘Jesus offered the ultimate teaching on nonviolence: Instead of killing your enemies, love your enemies,’ Dear said.

‘Life continuously reveals to us how deep our own violence lies within us. We will never become perfectly nonviolent because we have been thoroughly socialized into a culture of violence. But we can turn away from violence, seek peace, practice heartfelt compassion toward others, and publicly participate in the world’s nonviolent transformation.’ 

‘As we make peace with ourselves and welcome the God of peace who lives within us, we will learn to make peace with those around us and with others throughout the world. The challenge is to do both: to pursue peace within and to pursue peace with the whole human race.’

Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

– Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi




3rd lent