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Draw Nearer to God's Whispers

Fr Viktor A.

Third Sunday of Lent

First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Gospel: John 2:13-25

The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year B) invite us to reflect on the essence of true worship and the paradoxical nature of God's wisdom and power. They challenge believers to deepen their relationship with God, adhering to His commandments not just in letter but in spirit through a life transformed by the cross.

First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

This passage accounts for God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is foundational for Jewish and Christian ethics, emphasizing the importance of a covenant relationship with God, including worship and moral behavior. The commandments start with directives about how to love and honor God and then shift to guidelines for loving and respecting our neighbors.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Paul's letter to the Corinthians contrasts the wisdom and power of God with human expectations. Jews demand signs, and Greeks seek wisdom, but Paul preaches Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. Yet, for those who are called, Christ is the power and wisdom of God, surpassing human understanding.

Gospel: John 2:13-25

The Gospel recounts Jesus cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem, an act of zealousness for His Father's house, which had been turned into a "marketplace" rather than a place of worship. This narrative illustrates Jesus' authority and concern for pure worship, untainted by commercial interests or hypocrisy. His actions and the subsequent dialogue point to replacing the Temple with His body, foreshadowing His death and resurrection.

These readings call for true worship and acknowledging God's wisdom and power, often confusing human expectations.

- True Worship: The Ten Commandments establish the foundation for a relationship with God, beginning with how to worship Him properly. Jesus' cleansing of the Temple in John's Gospel critiques how the religious practices had strayed from these principles, emphasizing the need for purity and sincerity in worship.

- God's Wisdom and Power: The foolishness of the cross, as highlighted in the letter to the Corinthians, is a profound illustration of God's way beyond human understanding. The crucifixion, seen as weakness and folly by the world, is the ultimate expression of God's love and power.

The readings remind us of the covenant relationship with God, where love and obedience are central. This covenant is fulfilled and transformed in Christ, who reinterprets and deepens the understanding of the law and worship.

God's actions, primarily through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, challenge our expectations and understandings of power and wisdom. The true power lies in God's love, manifest in what appears to be weakness.

The call to holiness and true worship is a personal and communal challenge, inviting believers to look beyond external observances to the heart of their relationship with God.

Questions for Reflection/Sharing:

1. In the Gospel, Jesus is passionate about purifying the Temple, symbolizing the importance of maintaining the sanctity of our worship and spiritual lives. Reflecting on this, consider your own "temples" (your heart and life). What areas of your life might Jesus call you to "cleanse" or purify to ensure they are authentic places of worship and devotion to God? How does this call to purification challenge or encourage you on your spiritual journey?

2. Jesus' actions in the Temple challenge the status quo and confront the commercialization and corruption of sacred spaces and practices. In today's context, in what ways might our society, or even our personal lives, commercialize or undermine authentic spiritual values and worship? How can we, as individuals and as a Church, resist these pressures and maintain the integrity of our faith in a consumer-driven world?

3. Jesus' cleansing of the Temple was a personal act and a public declaration of the need for reform within the community's worship practices. How does this aspect of Jesus' ministry inform our understanding of the role of community in living out the Gospel? How can our faith community work together to ensure that our collective worship and actions reflect the purity and devotion Jesus calls us to? How can we support one another in this endeavor?


Lord, purify our hearts and guide us in true worship

Getting to Know Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia:

The Rogate (pronounced ro‧ga‧te and not gayt) is the secret for all good works.

Seraphic worshiper of the Eucharist

(From the Father's Soul, pages 259-261):

Going into details, first of all we point out the Father's faith and love for the Blessed Sacrament. The Father was a seraphic worshiper of the Eucharist. When a youth, he was a regular worshiper in the churches having forty hours of adoration, but he preferred the churches of Portosalvo and of Jesus and Mary delle Trombe officiated by holy Religious, from whom he took advice.

Passing by, he seized the opportunity to visit the Blessed Sacrament in the churches, even though for a little while.

In the public adoration, he knelt in a straight angelic edifying attitude, the palms joined or leaning on his forehead. When alone, sometimes he bowed to the ground, or raised his arms, or crossed them on his chest, always praying in deep recollection.

Coming out from the adoration, or thanksgiving after mass, he was bright, transfigured in the face. He said: “Being half an hour before Jesus in the sacrament is really delightful!”

Sometimes the people saw him kneeling four to five hours before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, and on July first, he spent all day long in adoration. In his last years, the Father said to Father Vitale: “I feel weak in the legs, perhaps from my long kneeling during my life.” When the Father was in the house, he visited the Blessed Sacrament very often, spending his leisure time in prayer.

Both at his leaving and coming back, the Father always passed by the chapel for a while, and such a usage was prescribed in the rules for the congregants.

He once arrived worn out to Ritiro. Father D'Agostino told him to sit and rest, but he went to the church where he spent a long while despite his pneumonia. Later, he was forced to go to bed for a long time.

When people were already sleeping, he often spent much time in the chapel, his daily hard labor notwithstanding; but when the needs of the institute and of souls were urgent, he prolonged his prayers and adoration much more.How passionate and ardent are the numerous petitions and invocations he addressed to Jesus in the sacrament! They shine with his faith and vibrating heart!

What can we, say of the Father's fervor when he spoke of the Blessed Sacrament ? Our souls were penetrated by his words, and we were delighted in listening to him.

When Father Caudo was a seminarian, he went to Avignone for the feast on July first and listened to the Father, who preached before giving the blessing with the Eucharist. He deeply felt as though the Father were speaking with our Lord, and such a feeling lasted in him all his life, which ended at ninety years of age.

Two singular evidences:“Oh, how his eloquence lit up before the divine Host exposed on the altar; it was simple in a deep thought, calm in a lively ardor, charming in a harmonious timbre of voice, and very apt to convert people through the crystalline candor of each word!” (Father Cosimo Spina).

His conversation was brief, but when it came round to the subject of the Eucharist, then he became so excited that his words seemed to be fiery as arrows coming out of a furnace burning in his chest. The last time I met him, he seemed to me as a holy priest bearing the sacred species, so engrossed in his recollection was he. The habit of virtue had already made him so impermeable that evil could not contaminate him. He had become so spiritual that it was hard for him to stay in a corporal life. » (Teacher Joseph Giannini).

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