|Palm Sunday, Year C||April 14, 2019||Palm Sunday, Year C||Luke 23:26|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||April 7, 2019||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||John 12:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 31, 2019||Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C 2019||Joshua 5:9-12;Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 24, 2019||Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 13:1-9|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 17, 2019||Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 13:31-35,Philippians 3:17-4:1|
|First Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 10, 2019||First Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 4:1-13|
|Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019||March 6, 2019||Ash Wednesday||Isaiah 58:1-12|
|Last Epiphany, March 3, 2019 – Rev. Mark Jefferson||March 3, 2019||Last Epiphany, Year C||Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]|
|Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 24, 2019||Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year C||Genesis 45:3-11, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50; Luke 6:27-38|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C – “Be a Blessing”||February 17, 2019||Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C 2019||I Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 10, 2019||Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Luke 5:1-11|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 3, 2019||Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 27, 2019||Third Sunday after Epiphany||Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1; Corinthians 12:12-31a;Luke 4:14-21|
|Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 20, 2019||Second Sunday after the Epiphany||John 2:1-11|
|First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 13, 2019||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22|
Lent 3, Year B
Sermon Date:March 4, 2018
Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22; Psalm 19
Liturgy Calendar: Third Sunday in Lent, Year B
"Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple” – Rembrandt (1626)
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall have no other gods before me.”
The Israelites, worked to death building bricks out of mud for Pharaoh’s great building projects, cried out, and God heard them.
Only God could bring them out of slavery, and only God can bring us out into true freedom from the things that enslave us.
The psalmist says that our sins enslave us.
“Above all, Lord, keep me from presumptuous sins; let them not get dominion over me.”
Sins keep us from the freedom that God intends for us to have.
In today’s gospel, Jesus went to the temple during Passover and saw that the people who worshipped there, as well as the temple authorities, had become enslaved to a system of oppressive rules.
The temple authorities had gotten caught up by the attractions of power and profit.
They were making a killing by bilking the people who came to the temple to buy the perfect sacrificial animals to offer in worship, which could only be bought with temple currency, which was exchanged at an exorbitant rate.
When he drove out the livestock and the money changers and the sellers of doves, Jesus rid the temple, at least briefly, of the outward and visible signs of the inward corruption that had taken away the freedom of the people to worship God
In our times, Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador in El Salvador, saw that the Catholic Church, the state, and the military all worked together to benefit the ruling families of that country while most of the people lived in abject poverty.
Like Jesus cleansing the temple, Romero cleansed the temple, so to speak, and thanks to the work that God did through him, the Catholic Church ended up standing in solidarity with the poor of El Salvador, rather than remaining aligned with the rich families and the government and the military all intent on perpetually holding the poor in economic poverty.
Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980, as he prepared to celebrate mass at The Hospital of Divine Providence, a hospital specializing in oncology and care for the terminally ill in San Salvador.
But through his death, Romero helped to bring freedom to the people of El Salvador.
Jesus told those who asked why he had the right to disrupt the work of the temple during the busy Passover season that his own death and resurrection would set the temple free so that it could once again be a house of prayer rather than a place of extortion.
He, in his being raised up, that is, in his death and resurrection, would offer those who questioned him, as well as the whole world, a way to freedom as well.
But even his disciples did not understand the meaning of what Jesus had said about being raised up until after his resurrection had taken place.
Paul writes to the Corinthians that the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God for us who are being saved.
In the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, God saved us all, once and for all. And then God gives us our lifetimes and then eternity to grow into the freedom of God’s love. So even though we are saved, we, the saved, are always in the process of being saved as we grow into that freedom.
The way is not easy. The way of love and justice that Jesus walked led to the cross. Oscar Romero walked that same path and ended up shot to death at the altar. But beyond death comes resurrection.
Meanwhile, as Romero wrote in the 1970’s,
“We live in a time of struggle between truth and lies, between sincerity, which almost no one believes in still, and hypocrisy and intrigue. Let’s not be afraid, brothers and sisters; let’s try to be sincere, to love truth; let’s try to model ourselves on Christ Jesus. It is time for us to have a great sense of selection, of discernment.”
To elaborate on what Romero said–
To model ourselves on Christ Jesus is to claim the freedom that God has already given us.
The psalmist reminds us that the law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent. The statues of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart. The commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. By keeping them we are enlightened, and in keeping them there is great reward.
The law of the Lord, written for our ongoing salvation, is brought to perfection in the word made flesh, Jesus Christ.
And it is by following Jesus in joyful obedience, even to death and the cross, that we will find the freedom of resurrection life.