“PURIFY YOURSELVES FOR TOMORROW THE LORD WILL BE IN YOUR MIDST DOING WONDERS” (Josh 3:5)
????Exod 20:1-17; Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11 (R. cf. John 6:68); 1 Cor 1:22-25; John 2:13-25
Today is the Third Sunday of Lent. In the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which culminates in Baptism at Easter Vigil, this is the day in which we have what is called the First Scrutiny/Purification. The Second and Third Scrutiny would come up on the Fifth and Sixth Sundays of Lent respectively.
The period of Scrutiny is a period reflection and purification. Here, the elect (that is, those who were admitted into the process of RCIA on the First Sunday of Lent) are helped to purify their minds and heart through constant examination of conscience, acts of repentance and further instruction that would enable them have a deeper knowledge of Christ.
Providentially, the Gospel of today, which bears one of the replacement themes in the Gospel of John, tells us of how important this act of purification is to Jesus. Seeing that the original intention of God to have the Temple as the house of prayer for all nations (cf. Isa 56:7) was being abused, Jesus tried to restore the dignity of the Temple by cleaning out the deeds of evil going on there.
However, Jesus equally knows that that physical Temple would again be desecrated once he turns his back. Hence, he introduced a replacement, a new temple which is his glorified body (cf. John 2:19-21), where a perfect and true worship would now be offered to God, through him, and with him, and in him.
By the virtue of our Baptism, all of us have a share in that glorified body of Jesus, which is now the new temple. With that, St. Paul tells us that we too are temples of the Holy Spirit; temples which have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. And as the temples, we need to remain clean at all times (cf. 1 Cor 6:19-20).
The Second Reading instructs us on the major ingredient that must be part of our act of purification. We must do away with all the myopic reasoning which limits us to the level of Jews or Gentiles. Rather, love of God and love of our neighbour must guide our actions. The Commandments of God which we read in the First Reading is therefore there to guide us to follow God well with a loving and purified minds.
As we pray for and with the catechumens who are undergoing this process of scrutiny, we equally pray for all of us who have already had our own baptism, that we may always strive to live better lives in purity of hearts and mind. Amen.
Have a blessed Sunday. Peace be with you.