March 4, 2018: Third Sunday of Lent
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
The Church’s social doctrine is an integral part of her evangelizing ministry. Nothing that concerns the community of men and women — situations and problems regarding justice, freedom, development, relations between peoples, peace — is foreign to evangelization, and evangelization would be incomplete if it did not take into account the mutual demands continually made by the Gospel and by the concrete, personal and social life of man. Profound links exist between evangelization and human promotion: “These include links of an anthropological order, because the man who is to be evangelized is not an abstract being but is subject to social and economic questions. They also include links in the theological order, since one cannot disassociate the plan of creation from the plan of Redemption. The latter plan touches the very concrete situations of injustice to be combated and of justice to be restored. They include links of the eminently evangelical order, which is that of charity: how in fact can one proclaim the new commandment without promoting in justice and in peace the true, authentic advancement of man?” (66) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Readings Cycle B
First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm: 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 1:22-25
Gospel: John 2:13-25
Cycle A readings may replace the Cycle B readings for this Sunday. Cycle A readings are used at liturgies with the first scrutiny for those preparing for baptism at the Easter Vigil.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce.353 He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.'”354 After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple. (584) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday of Lent , Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Man and woman are in relationship with others above all as those to whom the lives of others have been entrusted. “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning, … I will require it … of man [and] of every man’s brother” (Gen 9:5), God tells Noah after the flood. In this perspective, the relationship with God requires that the life of man be considered sacred and inviolable. The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17), has validity because God alone is Lord of life and death. The respect owed to the inviolability and integrity of physical life finds its climax in the positive commandment: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18), by which Jesus enjoins the obligation to tend to the needs of one’s neighbour (cf. Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31; Lk 10:27-28). (112)
John 3:16. (Gospel Acclamation)
To the people of our time, her travelling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine. In fact, when the Church “fulfils her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons. She teaches him the demands of justice and peace in conformity with divine wisdom”. This doctrine has its own profound unity, which flows from Faith in a whole and complete salvation, from Hope in a fullness of justice, and from Love which makes all mankind truly brothers and sisters in Christ: it is the expression of God’s love for the world, which he so loved “that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16). The new law of love embraces the entire human family and knows no limits, since the proclamation of the salvation wrought by Christ extends “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). (3)
With her social doctrine not only does the Church not stray from her mission but she is rigorously faithful to it. The redemption wrought by Christ and entrusted to the saving mission of the Church is certainly of the supernatural order. This dimension is not a delimitation of salvation but rather an integral expression of it. The supernatural is not to be understood as an entity or a place that begins where the natural ends, but as the raising of the natural to a higher plane. In this way nothing of the created or the human order is foreign to or excluded from the supernatural or theological order of faith and grace, rather it is found within it, taken on and elevated by it. “In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man (cf. Gen 1:26-30) — the world that, when sin entered, ‘was subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:20; cf. Rom 8:19-22) — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love. Indeed, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’ (Jn 3:16). As this link was broken in the man Adam, so in the Man Christ it was reforged (cf. Rom 5:12-21)”. (64)
A sacred time, the observance of Passover, as people journeyed from all over the region to celebrate at the temple in Jerusalem. Ritualistic sacrifice highlighted the occasion. Depending on one’s financial means, a sheep, ox or dove was brought to the temple as an offering. Rooted in tradition, expressed in scripture, each year Jerusalem welcomed the faithful fulfilling their spiritual obligation in deference to God. So why was Jesus so angered with the religious tradition he saw, practiced and experienced his whole life? His initiative to disrupt the system, drive it from the temple frothed forth from spiritual hypocrisy inherent in the practice. The visible status of what people gave, a prestige symbol of earthly means instead of spiritual demeanor exploited a faithful covenant between God and man. Diverse currency coming by foot or caravan needed to be converted to temple currency to purchase the sacrificial animals. The opportunity for money changers to extract a profit in the realm of the spiritual practice. What Jesus saw in the temple area was a spiritual tourist trap not the reverence and resolve to practice one’s faith justly rooted in honoring and worshiping God. Worldly interests grasping for profits needed to be exposed and expelled from the sacred grounds for believers to gain clarity of their purpose in celebrating Passover. Leaders thought they might dismiss Jesus’ bold action and return to their former ways. But by prefiguring His crucifixion and resurrection, the temple of His body destroyed and rebuilt in three days, Jesus highlighted hypocrisy, faith rich in ritual, void in sincerity and exploitative in format.
Where is hypocrisy in our faith today? As followers of Jesus how do we respond? Jesus was not silent, but did not harm anyone or the animals. He just drove them out and asked people with the doves to remove them from the temple area. He disrupted the unjust, exploitative practice of requiring temple currency to purchase sacrificial animals, by turning over the tables. How will we overturn, unravel unjust and exploitative practices in our Church and world today? Why would we even ponder or consider such actions? For the Lord has the words of everlasting life, clear, pure, true and to dismiss those prerogatives is to deny Jesus’ death and resurrection. Not that we demand signs or seek wisdom, but proclaim Christ crucified by the way we profess our faith, live our lives. Respecting, honoring God, eschewing idealistic practices rooted in vain expression while honoring social contracts expressed in solidarity, kindness, mercy and justice. Commandments Jesus expressed in disrupting the status quo at the temple and commandments we should honor today by questioning the status quo not grounded in truth, negating justice and leaving our world more polarized from focusing on human agendas instead of prudent faithfulness to the Gospel.
Individual Reflection: 1st Corinthians 1:22-25
The Just Faith program, Good News People, no longer has a registration fee, just purchase the program binders. Offer to facilitate a Good New People group at your parish.
Family Reflection: John 2:13-25
Offer to purchase a case of Eco-palms for your parish to use on Palm Sunday to promote environmental and social justice.
Lectio divina reflecting on Cycle A Gospel reading of the woman at the well
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born February 27, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.