The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B of 3rd Week in Lent is John 2:13-25.

Following the launch of His public ministry at the Wedding of Cana, Christ travels by foot (100 miles) for the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. As He enters the Temple, Christ finds the Temple being corrupted as foretold 500 years earlier (Mal 3:1-2). Of note: scholars conclude that this is the first of two times that Christ cleanses the Temple; He returns three years later to cleanse the Temple a final time during Passion Week (Matt 21:12-13).

It was “big business” to provide animals for sacrifice and exchange foreign currency for the Temple tax; the priests and many men profited from the lucrative business, even allowing the sacrilege of buying and selling inside the Temple in the outer court. Moved by righteous indignation and zeal, Christ, whip in hand, forcefully drives out the merchants and animals from the large outer court area (35 acres/26 football fields), scattering coins as He turns over the money tables.

When His authority is challenged, Christ cryptically prophesizes of His own Passion and Resurrection, mysteriously revealing that after three days He would rise again. Christ refuses to respond to the confused Jewish leaders who take His words literally, saving the meaning of His words for the disciples to realize and be awed by after His Resurrection. Knowing the evil in men’s hearts, Christ takes no comfort in the acclaim of the crowds in Jerusalem, prophetically realizing that these same crowds would call for His Crucifixion three years later.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ defends His Father’s house.  Son of Man, Christ courageously clears out a large hostile crowd of “robbers” (Matt 21:13) from the acres-large outer Temple area; His physical presence and righteous anger was powerfully intimidating. Divine Prophet, Christ mysteriously reveals His coming Passion and Resurrection with precision (after three days).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The outer Temple area was very large (35 acres) and filled with cut-throat merchants (robbers) who had much to lose. Marvel at Christ’s intimidating persona and physical presence and His fierce defense of the Holiness of God in the Temple (CCC 583-586).

2) Sadly, in many parishes today, there is a Sacrilegious (CCC 2118, 2120, 2139) lack of awe and honor for Christ, who resides in the Tabernacle; casual or immodest dress, chatter before, during and after mass, irreverent music, casual reception of the Eucharist, etc. During Lent, renew your understanding of the need for Deep Reverence of the Eucharist (CCC 1384-1390,1415,1418, 2628) and pray for Christ to help you and all men have the zeal to show respect for and defend the honor of Christ’s Real Presence.

3) Evil men schemed and murdered the Son of God; Catholic men should not be surprised by and prepare for persecution in all its various forms (bigotry, calumny, legal coercion, imprisonment, violence, murder). During Lent, reflect on Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303) and pray for Christ’s intervention to help you protect and expand His Kingdom in the face of these evils.