Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there.
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UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
In the Louvre Museum in Paris visitors can see a carved stone pillar known as the “Code of Hammurabi.” This eight-foot stone monument depicts an ancient Babylonian ruler and the body of law which governed life under his rule—justice, family life, commerce and so on.
Hammurabi’s laws represented his expectations for his people. In today’s first reading, we hear the Ten Commandments— what one Scripture scholar calls the “Bill of God’s Rights in the covenant.” They spell out the responsibilities of God’s people, their part of the covenant agreement. God promises to lead them safely to a land of promise, and there give them life. In return, the people are to respect God and each other.
The Ten Commandments are still practical guides for Christian living today. Sadly, they’ve also become the objects of political controversy, as communities debate about their public display. In the Gospels, Jesus urges us to live out the commandments—not just put on an exterior display.
The gap between inner conviction and external action saddened and angered Jesus. In today’s Gospel he offers his own “covenant renewal” as he cleanses the temple. As we renew our baptismal commitment this Lent, let’s seek to enshrine God’s commandments in our hearts with a resolve to love and to serve.
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DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (Ex 20:1-17), who is the God who delivered these commandments? How is God described?
What is the one commandment that has an attached promise?
In the second reading (1Cor 1:22-25), Paul describes how Jews and Greeks are looking for different things. What do Jews want? What are Greeks looking for?
What is this “stumbling block” that draws different responses from Jews and Greeks?
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus goes to the temple area in Jerusalem. What did Jesus find?
What did Jesus do? What was his complaint to the merchants and money changers?
Jesus told the Jews: “Destroy this temple and in three day I will raise it up.” His disciples later remembered this saying, but how did they explain it?
Make a list of Ten Commandments for your family. Or make one for yourself. Talk about why you chose the items you did.
One of the commandments is to keep holy the Sabbath day. This Sunday, spend a relaxing day at home with family instead of running around and doing projects.