Deacon Bob’s Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Cycle B

3rd Sunday of Lent, Cycle B

March 2/3, 2024

Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Cor 1:22-25; John 2:13-25

How zealous are you? In other words, how much zeal do you have for your souls, and for the souls of others?

Jesus was zealous, we hear today, for His Father’s house, the temple of God’s presence, and he cleansed it of all that would profane it, from all that would diminish it. Jesus is zealous, also, to cleanse our souls from all the sins, distractions, and obstacles keeping us from holiness.

So, maybe a question we all should be asking ourselves this Lent is, if Jesus is zealous for our souls, how zealous are we? How zealous are we for our salvation? How zealous are we for the salvation of others? How zealous are we to rid our souls of all the clutter, all the sins, all the false idols, all the “money tables” and any other obstacle that keep us from holiness? How zealous are we in seeking out the sacraments, giving Jesus an open door into our lives? How zealous are we come to Mass and go to Confession? How zealous are we to we pray and to give alms? Is Confession, and Mass, and prayer, and almsgiving a part of our Lenten practice this year?

Jesus teaches us today by His example that zeal must consume us! Zeal! We must be not merely curious and obedient students of a wise teacher seeking signs or looking for some new teaching from Him; no we must be, as St. Paul wrote, zealous to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ, Who is very power and wisdom of God. Our salvation and the salvation of the world are found in the person of Jesus Christ, not in some new interesting teaching that someone offers.

We look for signs, do we not? We look for some wisdom to teach us what to do, don’t we? We want Father and Deacon to give great homilies so that we will learn something. But, remember, Jesus did not come into this world primarily as a wise teacher or a moralist, or some sage, like so many who came before him and after him. If we think of Him in that way, we are in trouble. If Jesus is only a wise teacher, he is only another Confucius or Buddha or Mohammed or some other wise man in history. Christianity, our faith, is built, not on a set of precepts or teachings, but on a Person, the person of Jesus, the Son of Mary and the Son of God.  Jesus came into our world as a divine Person to be our Savior, not a just a wise teacher, and zeal filled him to the brim to do just that! Jesus came as the only Son of God to be given in sacrifice so we may have eternal life in Him, and only in Him.

Jesus did not say, “My teachings will raise you up!” What He said was He would raise us up. He, Jesus, will do this. The repentant thief at Golgotha, I dare say, probably knew little of Jesus’ teachings or his wisdom, but he knew who Jesus was, that He was Savior, and he turned to Him, and was raised up that very day.

Yes, Jesus was wise. His teachings were profound. We will do well to know them. If we know the truths of the faith, we must obey those truths. But if our salvation rested on the teachings alone, all infants would never be admitted to heaven, and all death bed conversions would be of no value. What is most important is that we make that profession of faith that Peter made, “To whom else shall we turn? You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

To what or whom will you turn? For what or whom will you be zealous, zealous enough to overturn the money tables cluttering your soul, getting rid of whatever it is that obstructs your relationship with Jesus who alone saves us and the world from sin? Do not turn to the author on the New York Times best seller list. Do not turn to a popular political leader. Do not turn to radio talk show hosts. Do not turn to paganism that is being renewed in our society today. Turn to Jesus. Be zealous for Jesus. Be close to Jesus. He alone will save and raise you up. He alone is your Savior. In Him and through Him, is the salvation of our souls.

Be zealous for Jesus!

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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