Sunday, March 18, 2012

Homily 3rd Sun Lent Year B–The Body of Christ and the Dwelling Place of God

Jesus templeJesus does not come to destroy the temple, but to fulfill it - to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan.

He is the Lord the prophets said would come - to purify the temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples.

The God who made the heavens and the earth, who brought Israel out of slavery, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands.

Nor does He need offerings of oxen, sheep, or doves.

Notice in today’s First Reading that God did not originally command animal sacrifices - only that Israel heed His commandments.

His law was a gift of divine wisdom, as we sing in today’s Psalm. It was a law of love, perfectly expressed in Christ’s self-offering on the cross.

This is the “sign” Jesus offers in the Gospel today - the sign that caused Jewish leaders to stumble, as Paul tells us in the Epistle.

Jesus’ body - destroyed on the cross and raised up three days later - is the new and true sanctuary. From the temple of His body, rivers of living water flow, the Spirit of grace that makes each of us a temple, and together builds us into a dwelling place of God.

In the Eucharist we participate in His offering of His body and blood. This is the worship in Spirit and in truth that the Father desires.

We are to offer praise as our sacrifice. This means imitating Christ - offering our bodies - all our intentions and actions in every circumstance, for the love of God and the love of others.

Notes from St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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