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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent 2024

True love, responsibility and relationship between God the Creator and us

First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17 |  Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18(19):8-11 | Second Reading:1 Corinthians 1:22-25 | 

Gospel: John 2:13-25

This Sunday’s reflection is by,

Fr. Jean-Claude Jimmy Bindanda K., SJ.,

Centre Maisha Director, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Peace and joy in Christ Jesus!

After the season of Advent, which had prepared us well to welcome Christ the Child in our concrete daily situation, the Church our Mother offers us a new and important season, the season of Lent. It prepares us to walk with Christ in his public ministry, to share in his passion, death and resurrection.

If on the first Sunday of Lent we were immersed in the baptismal waters of Christ’s flood (1 Pet 3:21), impelled like him by the Spirit to face in prayer the desert of our own hearts (Mk 1:12-15), the second Sunday of Lent illuminated our hearts with the light of the transfigured Christ. In this light, our whole being and the whole of creation are invited to be purified, transfigured, and thus to be resurrected with Christ (Mk 9:10).

On this third Sunday of Lent, Scripture advises us not to close our hearts, not to be free electrons, but to conform ourselves to God’s law, that of love (Ex 20:6). Jesus can’t stand everything that destroys love.

He is in Jerusalem today for the feast of Passover. He visits symbolic places of the Jewish faith. He enters the Temple and finds it being desecrated by Jewish merchants. “He drives them all out of the Temple.” In this way, Jesus takes an appropriate act, declaring the loss of the meaning of the “sacred” and recalling its fundamental meaning: “Do not make my Father’s house a house of traffic.” Here there is a question about the way of dwelling in the Temple, or better still, about the quality of all relationships with the Body of Christ, with one’s brothers and sisters, with nature.

Today, in our globalized and digitized societies in general, exchange has become mercantile, everything is bought, everything is sold, everything goes through all kinds of negotiations, with all kinds of obstructed pacts leading to social inequalities, individualism, violence, injustice, even the unscrupulous depreciation of relationships and human life. Love between neighbors, neighbors and nations passes through interests, so that the consistency of neighbor is emptied of its evangelical meaning. The case of abuse of children and vulnerable people, the phenomenon of orphans infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in the world in general, and the image in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo of the child who keeps quiet about his mother who is dead with machetes and riddled with bullets in the current context of an unjust war,  question our conscience and our responsibility as guardians of the Temple or of the human creature.

In the continuation of today’s Gospel page, Jesus will re-establish the effective possibility of true love, responsibility and relationship between God the Creator and us, his creatures, and through us our whole “common home”. Through his body offered in total renunciation, he gives us life. This is the true place of exchange between God and us. This body, nailed to the wood of the world’s misery, leads us, through the love that gives itself and through the Paschal Mystery, to the glory of the Father.

As we move towards Easter, may we, while abandoning ourselves to the power of this God of Love who gives himself to us, contemplate the manifestation of this gratuitous love, and perceive every moment of our lives how much we trample on the sacred places, how much we relativize and lightly steer the boat of our eternal life, how much we have bargained for our Christian values,  how much we have not been able to love, and consequently how much we have denied our fellowship with God.

We need a true conversion, a total renunciation of ourselves, in order to be able to give and receive only the love of God around us.


Ismael Matambura



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