Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B

Christ is Perfect Wisdom and the Fullness of the Law

Readings: 1stEx 20, 1-17; Ps 18, 8-11; 2nd1 Cor 1:22-25: Gos: Jn 2:13-25

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

As we continue our journey this season, on this third Sunday of Lent, we celebrate Christ the fullness of the law and the wisdom of God. Today, the Church calls us to rededicate ourselves to Christ. This is because He is the fulfillment of God’s commandment.

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In our first reading from Exodus, God gave the Law to Moses for Israel. So, what is the purpose of the Law? The law was given to Israel to help them become wiser. It was also given to them to strengthen their relationship with God and organize their social and religious life.

Hence, the commandments of God are meant to form us into a sacred community. That is a community rooted in the genuine worship of God and a community that lives in justice and peace with one another. Therefore, we are to live as neighbors, respecting one another. The ultimate and remote purpose of this is to know, respect, and worship God, our creator. 

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While the old law was given through Moses, the new Law (Covenant) given through and in Christ fulfills it. God reveals Himself precisely in His commandment. Hence, as the fulness of God’s commandments, Christ is the channel through which God receives and loves us.

In our second reading, Paul reminds us that Christ is: “The fullness of God’s wisdom.” The Greeks searched for this wisdom. Unfortunately, they ignorantly rejected Him. So, instead of benefiting from Him, they were misled by the wisdom of this world.

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According to Paul, Christ is the fullness of the law and the wisdom of God. So, whoever finds and receives him, will be filled with wisdom and never walk in ignorance. “Whoever receives him will never walk in darkness again” (Jn 8, 12). Darkness is opposed to wisdom. Whoever has not received Christ, the fullness of wisdom, though he walks according to the wisdom of this world, lives in darkness.

In today’s gospel, John narrates Jesus’ encounter with those profaning God’s Sanctuary. His action simply demonstrates that He is God’s wisdom and the fullness of the law. His zeal distinguished him from the authorities. Instead of representing God’s interest, they expressed their selfish economic and social interests. It also distinguishes him from temple pilgrims who simply visited the temple without real devotion to God.

What do we learn from today’s gospel? First, we are not supposed to keep quiet or remain indifferent while things go wrong. This is especially in the house of God, our homes, offices, or any place at all. Also, we must not allow our personal intention to destroy the sanity of our Church, family, state, or country. The Church is the house of God and a place of worship. We must keep it holy and respect it. Also, it reminds us that our body and the body of Christ is the Temple of God. So, we must not defile it.

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Finally, today Christ prophesied about his death and resurrection: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it in three days.” This prophecy will be fulfilled during the paschal mystery. Therefore, today’s gospel keeps the events of this season in perspective. It reminds us of where we are heading to this season, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So, as we march forward this season, let us continue to abide by the commandments of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the perfect wisdom. Let us acclaim Christ: “You, Lord, have the message of eternal life!”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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