Lenten Homily – 3.4.2018

Reading 1, Exodus 20:1-17
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Gospel, John 2:13-25
Reading 2, First Corinthians 1:22-25

Somewhere in my upbringing, I heard a phrase that was similar to this:  “What you revere, you resemble, either for ruin or restoration” (Beale).  It was implanted in my head and heart.

I also grew up in a Pentecostal church that had a high reverence for God.  I grew up feeling that God was to be highly revered (high respect, with a twinge of fear because of how powerful and holy God is).  I heard teachings such as “you respect heights?  Fear of the Lord is like that”.  I got the analogy in my heart but my mind played tricks on me, thinking I was supposed to be afraid/scared/fearful of God.

The passages for today depicts a God who is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving.  As a rule of thumb, those three traits should not be separated.

In todays Gospel reading, I find it fascinating that when Jesus starts clearing the temple court “swap meet” (using religious relics for economic gain), the religious leaders question the authority of Jesus and he refuses to give into their tactics.  I think one reason the religious leaders questioned him is because they truly did not revere God.  What they revered was money and self-respect.  It was resembled in their allowing of temple court economics for temple gain.  The temple did not reflect the Father’s house of prayer.  And they didn’t reflect the likeness of God or else they would have recognized Jesus.

I also believe that as we entrust our lives over to Jesus (on a daily basis), we will reflect/resemble Him, which is the best response to living a holy/good/right life.  As Christ followers, we put our efforts into being with Jesus, learning from Jesus, so that we might have his heart and mind, resulting in resembling His actions/deeds/words/attitude…thus keeping us from sinning.

I have seen this in my own life as I’ve struggled with vices, resentment, and anger.  I’ve seen how the power of God has broken generational patterns of womanizing, alcoholism, and violence.  It was deeply entrenched in my generational lines for at least 3 generations.  I should add that the transformation started with my “apa”.  “Apa, te amo mucho!  Gracias por to ejemplo de servir a Cristo Jesus!”

Here’s a quote from John Calvin on the fear of God.  🙂

Piety, Calvin wrote, is ‘reverence joined with love of God’ (Institutes I.ii.l). It is evoked by the presence and power of God. Piety was central to Calvin’s theology and to his ethics. Without it there is no genuine knowledge of God; with it people willingly serve God. Piety is not the pretentious display of religion or ‘great ostentation in ceremonies’ (I.ii. 2), which Calvin despised as much as anyone; it is an attitude of reverence and trust, a sense of dependence and gratitude, a readiness to ‘observe his authority … , advance his glory,

. New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology



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