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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, March 09, 2012
Third Sunday of Lent – 11th March 2012
Temper, temper

Today’s Gospel is a perplexing one as the gentle, meek and mild Jesus takes a back seat to an uncharacteristically angry Christ. But the cleansing of the temple is one of the signs in St John’s Gospel and hence the last verse tells us that, “many believed in His name went they saw the signs which He did.” Each of these signs reveals something about the nature of Jesus and this one reveals Him as the new temple – He is the place where people are to come to know the presence of God in their lives and be untied with Him in prayer.

Christ also makes two other points. The first is that destruction will be necessary and the second is that out of that ruin a new temple will appear. He is speaking, of course, about His death and resurrection. He will replace the temple; He will become the new temple. Sin could not be destroyed by the destruction of the structural temple but it was destroyed by the death of Jesus because in His body He took sinful humanity to the cross. Therefore the cross destroys the old and the resurrection establishes the new.

In His risen body there is no longer a barrier between God and man. That is why when He dies and destroys sin the veil of the temple is torn in two – the symbol of separation of the sinful from the sinless one is needed no more. In that body we have direct access to God and that body is made truly present in the Eucharist we celebrate.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that in this secularized era, Catholics should follow Benedict XVI's example and recover the practice of Eucharistic adoration. "The liturgy is, above all, adoration," he explained. "The Church is the work of God, God's action; it is recognition of what God does for men. And the adoration that the liturgy expresses, especially the Eucharist, is the acknowledgment of God that everything comes from him, that everything that belongs to us must find him." He went on to say that we should "reaffirm that God comes first…This is what will change the life of Christians and of the Church." When the Church "forgets that God is the centre of everything, it becomes a merely human institution."

I’m not proposing that anyone should start throwing their weight around on a Sunday morning if the atmosphere is less than conducive to adoration, but we all might make a little more effort to be recollected before and after Mass and save our “business” for outside. We need to remind ourselves that it is God who is at the centre of everything we do in church and that we are given the enormous privilege of being in the presence of that body which is the new temple and which offers us direct access to the Father.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:09 am