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Spirituality
Keeping God as the center of our life Print E-mail
Written by Jean Denton   
March 8, 2015
Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 20:1-17 or
Exodus 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17
Psalm 19:8-11
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

We were new to town and registering at our local parish. The Christian formation director welcomed us. “You’ll find this is a Jesus-centered parish,” he said.

My husband gave him a quizzical look. Later, he said, “Doesn’t that go without saying? Isn’t every Christian church Jesus-centered?”

That was many years ago. Since then, we’ve been in a few parishes that somehow occasionally seemed to lose that center.

For instance, I remember once standing in a church foyer just before Mass. People entering the building had to pass through a gauntlet of greeters in the 30-foot distance between the front door and the doors to the pews.

Youth were having a car wash, the Knights of Columbus were selling tickets to a pancake breakfast, and the women’s club offered baked goods for sale.

A family walking through the area seemed annoyed by the commotion. I heard a teenager remark, “Gosh, it’s like that story when Jesus got mad at all the merchants in the temple.”

That story is today’s Gospel. Jesus, annoyed by the commotion, told the temple money changers, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

A marketplace scene indeed has become familiar in churches today. Maybe we’ve developed a bad habit in how we support our Church and its ministry, forgetting that if we value and revere God, we don’t need any fundraising exchanges for investing in the life of Christ’s community.

In this week’s Old Testament reading, God’s commandments call us to have no other gods, to respect our one and only God, and keep him at the center of our lives.

When Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple, he’s accusing them of distracting people from God as their center.

Then he adds, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Scripture explains that he was referring to his own body and his resurrection. But it’s a warning that our worldly distractions can destroy the place where God comes to dwell -- whether it is our faith community or our own hearts.

He will rise, though. He explained that. God will forever triumph.

However, don’t we want to maintain a dwelling place for God at the center in our own lives?

 


This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

 

 
Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Readings
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops website.
 
Pope's Prayer Intentions: March 2015 Print E-mail
March Universal Intention

Respect for Women. That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.

March Evangelization Intention
Vocations.  That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
 
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Holy Days of Obligation Description
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Thursday, May 14
Ascension Thursday
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Sunday, Nov. 1
All Saints
Tuesday, Dec.8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, Dec. 25
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Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays in Lent, and Good Friday.

In addition to abstaining from meat, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, until they celebrate their 59th birthday, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are bound to this regulation may eat only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one's needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

These minimal penitential practices should not be lightly excused.

For more information, including resources for penance around the diocese, click here.

 
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