Third Sunday of Lent, March 10-11, 2012

Third Sunday of Lent

St. Mary's, Huntingburg
March 10-11, 2012



"Zeal for your house will consume me."

These are the words that the disciples recalled when Jesus made  whip of cords and drove the money changers out of the Temple.

"Zeal for your house will consume me."


            The Temple in Jerusalem was the very center of Jewish worship ... the place from which pure worship of God could rise up to heaven.

The Temple was the center of the Jewish people's identity as a people of faith.

Almighty God was believed dwell there with his people...

... there in the "Holy of Holies," surrounded by a number of outer courtyards.

And it was precisely in one of these outer courtyards that the money changers and the sellers of animals for sacrifice had set up their tables.

Now, these were, in fact, necessary functions: the people had to offer animal sacrifice, and all of them couldn't be expected to bring their own animals ... and the people couldn't use Roman coins to contribute to the Temple ... because those coins carried the image of the pagan Roman emperor ... and, so they needed to change their coins into an acceptable kind.

But maybe Jesus was outraged by the pure distraction of it:  you can imagine the chaos, the smell, the sounds of all of those animals crowded in the Temple courtyard ... plus the sound of the moneychangers calling out their rates.

The pure distraction from the true meaning of worship ... the temptation of reducing "right worship" to picking the right animals and offering the right coinage ... the lack of attentiveness to the presence of the Holy ...

And so, Jesus drove them out of the Temple ... because ...

"Zeal for your house will consume me."


            St. Paul tells us elsewhere, in his First Letter to the Corinthians: "You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit."

"You and I are the Temple of the Holy Spirit."

Baptized into Christ ... sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation ... living, we hope, in grace ... we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit ...

The Spirit of God dwells within us.

You and Iour souls, our daily lives, our relationships—we are the "house of God."

Pure worship of God is meant to rise from our souls ... from our hearts ...  from our manner of living ... from the example we give ... from our way of relating to the people around us.


            "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Our Lord is filled with zeal for the house of God that is each one of us.

He wants our prayer ... our manner of living ...  our example ...  our way of relating to give worship to almighty God.

And so, he wants to cast out of our lives everything that is contrary to what it means to be a living Temple of God.

He wants us, especially in this time of Lent, to join him in casting out of our lives everything that distracts from that true worship.

Yes, we have to live our ordinary lives ... we have to do the things that we have to  do ...

But, at every moment, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We are the house of God.

And everything that does not give God praise ... that is opposed to who he is ... that is contrary to His will, he wants to cast out ... he wants us to cast out ... like money changers cast out of the Temple.

Zeal for the house of God fills the Lord Jesus.

And you and I are the house of God.


            Zeal for God's house consumed Jesus ... and ...  zeal for your house should consume us.

You and I should have zeal for the righteousness of our lives ... for the purity of our own souls ... for the fidelity of our praise ... for the integrity of our Christian living ... so that we can truly be pure Temples to his glory.

We should be filled with zeal for his house, his temple, his body which is the Church of Christ ... our involvement in it, our participation in it, our fidelity to it.

We should be filled with zeal for own eternal home ... for the True and Lasting Temple ... for the life of heaven ...

Zeal for his house should consume us ... which means we should worship and pray and live accordingly.


            "Zeal for your house consumes me."

Today, this is an expression of zeal for the Temple in Jerusalem.

But it is too the zeal that the Lord has for us.

It should, at the same time, express our zeal for him.

Lord, let zeal for your house consume me.