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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflection for March 4

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

March 4, 2018 — Third Sunday of Lent
John 2:13-25
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

The Jerusalem temple was the supreme place of worship for faithful Jews. According to their laws and customs, animal sacrifice was their way of adoring God, expressing sorrow for sin, seeking God’s help, and thanking him for blessings. Animals were needed for sacrifice. So why was Jesus angry with those who sold the animals?

He was angry, Scripture scholars explain, because those in charge of the temple allowed only the animals they supplied to be used for sacrifice. They charged high prices for those animals. They accepted only temple coins which they provided at money-changing tables, where they made unjust profits. In driving these merchants from the temple, Jesus showed zeal for his Father’s house and for justice.

In cleansing the temple of injustice, Jesus was moving toward that day when the temple would give way to the New Covenant. When the Jews demanded a sign from Jesus to show cause for his actions, he said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John explains that Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. Jesus is God, and his divinity would be manifested to the world by his death and Resurrection. Thomas would worship the risen Jesus with the words, “My Lord and my God.”

Forty years after Jesus drove merchants from the Jerusalem temple, it would be destroyed by Roman armies. It has not been rebuilt. But Jesus is forever God’s true Temple, present sacramentally in every Catholic Church. We should show zeal for his presence by our reverence and prayerfulness at Mass. We should be attentive to his presence each time we pass a Catholic church. We should feel a special sense of awe when Jesus makes us temples of his presence as we receive him in Holy Communion.

Today’s Gospel, then, leads us to the very purpose of Lent, a deeper union with Jesus. Mary, who was the first temple of Christ’s presence when he was conceived in her womb, can help us achieve that deeper union. This week let’s ask Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to help us become worthy temples of her Son’s presence.

Read last week's reflection.