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Our Source of Guidance and Life


“Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,

and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.

He himself understood it well.”  


From Sunday’s Gospel John 2:13-25           

Why do we need commandments? Some see them as restrictive, others as life-giving. They are both. We need them because of the effects, or concupiscence, the tendency to fall into temptation and sin, that resulted from the fall and is inherent in our human nature. In short, we are sinners! Temptations to seek pleasure, inordinate wealth, or power, and to choose the easy road hound us throughout our lives. The 10 Commandments found in today’s first reading from Exodus 20:1-17 and also in the Book of Deuteronomy, provide a blueprint for creating order in our spiritual lives and boundaries that keep us safe from sin. They restrict us by challenging us to be aware of what we need to avoid due to their harmfulness to our souls. They are life-giving because when we follow them, we walk as children of the light, empowered by God’s grace.

Psalm 19 extols the power of God’s word, words that offer everlasting life. Verses eight through eleven remind us that God’s law is perfect, refreshing the soul; the ordinances of the Lord are true and just, more precious than gold or honey from the comb. It was in the temple in Jerusalem that God’s word was proclaimed in the holiest of the houses of prayer. Imagine Jesus’ horror when instead of seeing persons finding a quiet place to meditate and pray, the din of the moneychangers and the vendors of animals for sacrifice were disrupting that holy ground. Both were needed – the moneychangers to exchange currencies for those traveling from abroad so they could tithe and offer the ritual sacrifices needed for the atonement of sin – but maybe they had moved from outside to inside the temple or their avarice made them overly aggressive by focusing on the profits they would make in their trades, thus frustrating Jesus.


Jesus’ ire causes him to overturn the moneychangers tables as we recall the scripture that states, “My house shall be a house of prayer” from Matthew 21:13 which references Isaiah 56:7. As we reflect upon these readings, may we honor God’s commandments as we see them as a source of guidance and life. May we remember the reason we come to Church: to worship the Lord, to listen to God’s word, to partake of his sacred body and blood, as we seek to build up the Body of Christ.    




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