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March 3, 2024: Third Sunday of Lent

Gospel: John 2: 13-23

“… Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ His disciples asked, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ They then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking of the temple of his body … After he was raised they remembered what Jesus said and they believed the word that Jesus spoke.


Today we begin to read and ponder the Gospel of John whose writings were in the years 90-100 CE. John 2: 13-25 puts before us two significant and prophetic events: Jesus’ cleansing of the temple and his prediction of the resurrection, the imminent coming of God’s reign. Though written prior to Jesus’s public ministry these events probably happened at the end of Jesus’ public career.

Twice in this section of John we hear “remember” (17, 22). The community of John looked back at the past while simultaneously reinterpreting it in light of the presence of the Spirit. The Spirit’s presence enabled the community members to see in a past event significance for their present lives. What was an historical pilgrimage by Jesus in expectation of the coming of God, became for the Johannine community an event that still spoke to them.

In recalling the outing of the money changers in the temple, Jesus is set in opposition with those who refuse to believe and live justly.  In recounting Jesus’ words of resurrection, the Johannine community interprets Jesus as prophet. God reveals God’s Self in our reflecting back.


What significance is there for our lives as we look back and remember?  Might we dare to look back, believe in the Spirit’s presence and see with new inner eyes the meaning of the past for our living today?  Do we perhaps ponder a wonder of creation or something we identify as a “miracle” and forget to see the revelation of God offered us? 

In Lent are you being invited to take time to ponder differently, to discover God’s revelation anew?  To practice the art of hearing the word of God anew that opens the path to clear away the idols that kept you from living Jesus’ ways and to receive the love of God revealed through the resurrected Christ?   

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Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan, SP, a Sister of Providence since 1960, lives in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after several years in Chicago, where she ministered as Executive Director/ACPE Supervisor of the Urban Clinical Pastoral Education Consortium, Inc. and as a spiritual director. She has extensive training not only in clinical pastoral supervision but also in care with those sexually abused, those challenged with mental illness and those suffering trauma. She has offered many workshops at regional, national and international conferences, is the author of Partner in Covenant: The Art of Spiritual Companionship and of numerous articles including one of her latest, Formation For Professional Practice: Addressing Social Hurts" in Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, Vol. 34 2014.

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  1. Avatar Steve Modde on February 29, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    You are so right on! In looking back don’t we or I frequently fail to see the Spirit of Christ offered to us through the patience, wisdom, support and compassion of those closest to us? A strange life phenomenon. But we can’t afford to feel guilty now about it, but rather accept forgiveness and rejoice in good memories in order to live more fully as loving persons on our continued life journey. Thanks S Barbara!

  2. Avatar Debbie Griffey on March 1, 2024 at 1:39 pm

    Absolutely. When I look back I can see how everything that has happened has led to the next thing. As Steve said, there is little benefit in feeling guilty about actions taken when looking at the whole picture and seeing how Providence has led us to where we are. Thank you!

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