Third Sunday of Lent
March 7, 2021
Housekeeping can seem like thankless and oftentimes futile work. How many times do Moms say (or possibly yell): I just washed that floor! Take those muddy shoes off right this minute. Why did I even bother?
Just the other day, I took the time and spent the money to have my car washed. I hadn’t driven an entire block when a truck went flying by and hit a big puddle of dirty slush. The entire side of my vehicle was drenched. Why did I even bother?
We are constantly putting out the effort to clean up some kind of mess, only to have someone, or something, undo all that we have just accomplished. When this happens, we often find ourselves asking: Why did I even bother?
This experience of futility carries over into our spiritual lives. How often do we sit and ponder the Commandments, examining our conscience, before walking into the Reconciliation room to confess to the very same sins we acknowledged the last time…and the time before that…and the time before that? Why do we even bother?
No doubt, as soon as Jesus left the Temple complex, the tables were righted and the animals herded back, and it was “business as usual.” One can’t help but wonder: Why did He even bother?
John’s Gospel is written in a way that demands prayerful and thoughtful reading and reflection. It is filled with layers of meaning. Today’s passage, often referred to as “the cleansing of The Temple” is a classic example of the need to dig deep in order to grasp the “core” message.
Possibly the best place to begin a prayerful and thoughtful reading and reflection of the Scripture passages the Church offers on this 3rd Sunday of Lent is the very last line of the Gospel. Jesus…did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
What the Lord understands is that we MUST keep making the effort…we MUST keep cleaning up the messes…we MUST keep striving for holiness…otherwise, everything collapses in ruin.
He also understands that because life is so very messy, we can easily become overwhelmed…discouraged…fatigued…frustrated…disheartened, and maybe even angry. The Lord understands that too often we find ourselves asking the question: WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?
And so, Jesus Christ has given us the promise of sharing in Resurrected glory. That is the perfect reason to keep on…keeping on.
One last point worthy of prayer and reflection might well be: WHY DOES GOD CONTINUE TO BOTHER?
Knowing our nature, and our propensity to continue to make a mess of our lives and our world…WHY DOES GOD CONTINUE TO BOTHER WITH US? The answer is simple. Love! Pure, Selfless, and unconditional love.
As we approach the midpoint of Lent, it might be time to do some “cleaning up” and then recommitting to PRAYER, FASTING, AND ALMSGIVING. It is well worth the bother because PRAYER, FASTING, AND ALMSGIVING are all ways of telling God “I love You, too!”