|Ex 20:1-17; Ps 19; 1 Cor 1:22-25; Jn 2:13-25The readings this Sunday begin with the Ten Commandments and conclude with the gospel passage describing Jesus’ angry challenge of common practices in the temple. Both of these texts run through my mind in vivid images built by Sunday school book illustrations, as well as movies and paintings. These images can make it easy to place our modern-day selves as outside of these readings, perhaps to say we would never break these Commandments, nor dishonor or anger God.
However, this year, most striking to me are the subtle words at the closing of the gospel, “Jesus…did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.” Jesus recognized how difficult it would be for his disciples to absorb the signs and teachings he was sharing with them. He knew they would struggle to do the right thing as fear and distress overtook them. The same is true for us: Jesus knows not only (all) human nature, but each and every one of us in our entirety, including our faults, failings and intentions.
Lent is a time for “cleaning out the Temple,” for preparing ourselves for the Lord’s victory over death and therefore over sin. Let us use our Lenten reflections to look not only at how we measure up to “the rules,” but to also humbly explore our hearts and examine in what ways we need to improve. How can my thoughts and actions today better reflect who I strive to be, who Jesus sees that I can be?
Cheryl Martin ‘84