Third Sunday of Lent (Year B)
Today we encounter the Ten Commandments and I have tried to explore the notion of conscience. A couple of phrases really stood out for me from today's Gospel: "He (Jesus) never needed evidence about any man; he could tell what a man had in him." I hope you find something interesting in this week's a little liturgy.
God gave Moses the Ten Commandments:
1. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
4. Honour your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
9. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbour's goods.
You, Lord, have the message of eternal life.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
St Paul says that Christ is the power and the wisdom of God. He tells us that "God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength."
Before the Passover, Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem. There he found people who were selling things and trading. He made a whip and drove them out of the temple saying, "Take all this out of here and stop turning my father's house into a market."
He then said that if the sanctuary were destroyed he would raise it up again in three days. (The disciples understood that he was talking about himself after they witnessed the resurrection.)
The Ten Commandments form the basis of all Christian morality. They can be divided into two sections: one concerning God and one concerning your neighbour. However, rules can only take us so fa, and sometimes we must consider other ways of helping us to live good lives, such as listening to the Gospels and praying. The Church teaches that we must also use our conscience to decide what is right and wrong. "Conscience" could be described as a mixture of feeling, knowledge and experience. We have a responsibility to think about what is right, not according to selfish desires but according to respect for God and our neighbour.
Today's Gospel reminds us that we should have respect for holy places and behave appropriately; it is not acceptable to make money out of religious things and places. Interestingly, this was one of the criticisms levelled at the Catholic Church during the Reformation; priests were selling indulgences and relics. This is not strictly against the commandments but is obviously not respecting God or your neighbour.
Activity at Mass
Imagine that you are shipwrecked on a desert island. You are part of a group of twenty people and you need to make up some rules to help you all get along together. List down five rules that you would choose:
In the psalm today the psalmist praises God and his rules. He uses five different words to refer to God's rules. They all appear in the phrase "the ................. of the Lord". List them here:
Other activities and useful resources.
The Ten Commandments are written in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we hear a story about these rules. Jesus says: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.... You must love your neighbour as yourself." (Luke 10: 27-28)
Look up this reference and read the next section about how to look after your neighbour.
Have a good week!