Third Sunday of Lent 2024

Lent 3 2024

The above line from the Gospel of John provides the refrain in today’s responsorial psalm. Indeed, the Lord’s words that we encounter in today’s readings are life-giving. We hear both words for right living and the Word who is life.

As Catholics, we know that our temporal, earthly lives are not the entirety of our existence. We were created ultimately for eternal life with God in heaven, as long as we choose it. Today we are guided in how to choose it (and how not to cast it aside).

If we focus on earthly life, we easily bristle at the Ten Commandments from the first reading, many of which are presented as things not to do. Some might ask, don’t prohibitions limit the experience of life? But when we keep in mind our destination, we join the psalmist in praising the Lord for His perfect law, which shows us the way to everlasting life.

And yet, the Gospel reading shows us that, more than mere law-following, God desires our hearts. In this story, people have made a business of supplying sacrificial animals conveniently in the temple area. Were they motivated by devotion and a desire to facilitate others’ devotion, or by the profitability of their business model? We can conclude it was the second one, when we hear how Jesus was consumed with zeal on finding them there. Had their hearts been in it, they likely would have taken a more reverent approach.

Lent offers a particular opportunity for us to reorder both our actions (to follow God’s law) and our interior life (to give God our heart). At times we will find that the Lord has graced our heart with more desire for Him. At other times, our devotional practices will feel like “going through the motions”. Still, the motions can serve to discipline the heart when we offer them to the Lord.

As we journey through Lent, we at Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis continue to pray for you. We are grateful for your prayers for us, too.

Mass Readings

This reflection is based on the Mass readings for Year B. If you attended a liturgy which included the Scrutinies, you will have heard the readings for Year A.

Mass Readings (Scrutinies)


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