Sunday, March 8, 2015

3rd Sunday of Lent - 2015

Destroy this sanctuary and in three days
        I will raise it up .
He was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body.

Reading this passage in to-days Eucharist on the cleansing of the Temple I was struck by the intensity of Jesus’ zeal for the purity and integrity of his Father’s house.
His attitude had always been one of immense respect for the temple as many incidents related in the Gospels tell us.    The prophecies had foretold of the destruction of the ancient temple which would be replaced by the New Temple, a temple of the living God, Jesus himself, who would offer to the Father the true worship in Spirit and in truth.
        This theme of the true temple can be traced right through the scriptures to reveal that “Jesus has truly transferred to his own person the privilege, long held by the temple, of being the place where mankind would find God’s presence and salvation.”( Congar  The mystery of the temple) It makes for a fascinating study but is too long to go into detail here.
     Thro’ the mystery of the Incarnation Jesus becomes for us the image of the invisible God, the one whom the gracious Father with love sends into our world to draw it back to Him who first created it.  We thro’ our baptism are incorporated into the life of this Jesus to be come thro, with, and in Him,  temples of the Blessed Trinity.
 Will we ever be able to fathom so great a mystery? a mystery which touches us not only as individuals but as a community and Church.
Do you not under stand that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit has his dwelling in you ?   He is God’s gift to you so that you are no longer your own masters.   A great price has been paid to ransom you ; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence. 1 Cor.
         “ A great price has been paid to ransom you”, yes indeed ,that of the immolation of Christ’ s body which would be raised up again on the 3rd day, in other words His loving and whole-hearted submission to the will of his Father leading him to the glory such as belongs to the only begotten Son.  .Here we are at the heart of the whole work of Jesus, the work which the Father had given him to do.  And is not this our work too, we who are his brothers and sisters?  The Church encourages us in Lent to stir up our memory and conscience to that fact as we journey with Jesus to the glorious transfiguration of the Resurrection .     The witness of so many of to-day’s Christians who are ready to shed their blood for Christ spurs me on to deepen my faith, my hope ,my love for the blessed Three who dwell within me .
All praise, O Blessed Trinity,
Be yours, from whom all graces flow,
On those who triumph through the cross

The victor’s crown in heaven bestow.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent – 2015


All the runners at the stadium are trying to win, but only one of them gets the prize.  You must run in the same way, meaning to win.  All the fighters at the games go into strict training; they do this just to win a wreath that will wither away, but we do it for a wreath that will never wither.  (1 Cor.9:24-25).
Beginning with this passage from St. Paul where in effect he tells us that in the Christian contest we are all called to be winners not of an earthly but a heavenly wreath, I would like to reflect on the great hope for living our Christian life. which the mystery of the Transfiguration of our Lord, gives us.

In his commentary on last Sunday’s gospel where Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, St. Augustine says “do you notice that Christ has been tempted and fail to notice that he overcame the temptation?  Recognise your own self tempted in him and conquering also in him”.  In today’s Gospel something similar is happening.  Notice where the Transfiguration is placed in all three synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke.  It comes between the first and second prediction of the Passion and of Peter’s Profession of faith in Jesus as Messiah, and in Matthew, as Son of the living God.

This is very significant.  It demonstrates that the Transfigured Christ, that is Jesus risen and glorified, is at the centre of the Cross i.e. of every form of suffering and of death itself; and secondly, that it is the crucified and risen Jesus that gives suffering and death its meaning as we sang at Lauds this morning – “Jesus Christ, our Lord, brought an end to death; he has proclaimed life and immortality through his gospel”.

How does all this affect our Christian life?  I think nowhere in our modern world is it seen so clearly as in the heroic witness of the 21 Coptic Egyptian young men who were martyred for their faith in Jesus.   And seen in the mother of the two brothers among them, who forgave their murderers and prays for their conversion as told by their brother who said he was proud of his martyred brothers, and that the whole village was not sad but rejoicing over the witness of so many of them who gave their lives confessing Christ.

Pope Francis in this year of Consecrated Life has called on Religious to wake up the world.  Where I ask, would any of us get a more inspiring wake-up call to match that of these martyred young men?

I will conclude with a verse from a hymn on the feast of the Transfiguration and will say it in union with these martyrs who have already won the prize, and with a prayer for ourselves that one day, we too, will be accounted among the blessed.

Transfigured Christ, believed and loved,
In you our only hope has been;
Grant us, in your unfathomed love,
Those things no eye has ever seen.