Monday, March 16, 2009

Zeal for your house will consume me

Readings from the Third Sunday of Lent:

Reading 1Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

In those days, God delivered all these commandments: "I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. "You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain. "Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. "Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house.You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him."

Responsorial PsalmPs 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading II 1 Cor 1:22-25

Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Gospel Jn 2:13-25

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said,"Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him,"What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing.But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.He himself understood it well."

The Lord God has commanded us, "You shall not kill." There are nine words in Hebrew for taking a life (I have addressed this in a previous post). The word used in Exodus 20: 13 for "Thou shalt not kill" is ratsach, a strong verb used to indicate an intentional and unjustified act of murder. And yet, the murder of innocent unborn children continues. The Gospel reading tells us that after Jesus cleansed the Temple, the Apostles remembered the words of Scripture, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Zeal for your house will consume me. Let's reflect very carefully on these words as we ponder the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy."

Zeal for your house will consume me. The blood of the innocents cries out to the Living God as surely as it did when Cain murdered his brother Abel. If our society does not repent of its crimes, if it does not turn away from murdering the innocent and destroying God's Temple, then Jesus will fashion "another whip."


Ellen Wironken said...

I never stopped to think of that passage from 1 Corinthians 3 and its connection with yesterday's Gospel reading. Our nation has murdered so many millions of helpless babies Paul. When I think of their blood crying out to God, the very thought moves me to tears.

Michael Cole said...

Paul, another Anthony agrees with you. Father Anthony Mellace writes, "The second reason for being against abortion is a personal and selfish one. God is preparing a chastisement for humanity on global proportions never before seen in the history of the human race. Knowing about this, I rather wish that I had been born in a different epoch of history. When the punishment comes, it will affect everyone, whether good or bad. It did no good for a person to complain to God and declare that he was not part of the Nazi regime in Hitler’s Germany and therefore should not be taken to a concentration camp. When the chastisement of World War II came, it struck everyone, whether saints or sinners. Religious, as well as non-religious people were gassed to death.

The only two sins I know of that would provoke a punishment of catastrophic proportions is abortion and homoerotic behavior. A father can tolerate many failings and weaknesses in his child, but if this son were to really go beyond the limits, the father would no longer support this, but lose his patience and respond with a heavy spanking. There are two types of wrongs that God supports, but one causes Him to release His powerful arm against humanity. Our daily sins are forgiven by God with much patience, love, mercy and understanding. God loves the sinners who are always trying to better themselves. Iniquitous acts are cold, heavy, serious, pre-meditated and pre-calculated crimes that subject one to the fires of hell. God, in a tremendous attitude of mercy, still tolerates the iniquities of mankind and practices a long patience with us.

Abominations, however, are the types of sins insupportable to God. They are sins of the worst kind which attract severe punishment. Abortion is an abomination before God’s eyes. It evokes his fiery justice and anger on mankind. Knowing all this, I really want to save my skin and the skin of others as well. If I do fight abortion, it is because I do not want to see myself, my town, valley, State, country or family and friends destroyed in the Divine upheaval provoked by this crime.

Abortion is not a private matter between the doctor and the mother, but involves the chastisement and destruction of our own lives and society as well. If a person enters a public swimming pool without a doctor’s approval, his disease could spread to all the other people present also. Abortion is a disease that affects not only the abortionists, but all of us who live in their midst and are threatened in our very existence and peace by their abominable activities.

Sin has serious social as well as private implications and consequences. Why should I suffer a Divine chastisement because of some blind vultures who have the shameless audacity and sole desire to live off of human carnage and insult God to His Face? Not only will they be swept away by the deluge of God's anger, but will drag along the rest of us with them. It is for this reason that fence sitters and even those who might even agree with abortion, nonetheless should ardently fight against it and eliminate it from our communities. If the fire department tells me I am not to make any barbecues because the weather is warm and dry, I will obey, despite what I might think of barbecues. Safety and the conservation of my environment must precede my personal interests or ideas and tastes."

Anonymous said...

I remember Mother Teresa saying that the fruit of abortion is nuclear war. We are fashioning this chastisement with our own hands. To make matters worse, Obama has now reversed President Bush's ban on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In doing so, he has ensured that this nation's punishment will be all the more severe.

Michael Cole said...

To the clergy (Oves Sine Pastore):

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