Third Sunday of Lent, Year B, 8th March 2015

My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues my feet from the snare. Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. [Ent. Ant. (Psalm 24: 15-16)]

We continue, through Lent, with readings to encourage us as we journey toward the heart of our faith, which is relationship with God.

The author of the 1st Reading wanted his listeners to imagine themselves in the place of the original Hebrew slaves, hearing the ‘commandments’ for the first time, though not as a list of rules, coming out of the blue, but rather as what constituted them as people of
God. They describe the covenant between God and people. The covenant made with Moses, as recalled in today’s liturgy, enriches the covenants made with Noah (first Sunday of Lent) and with Abraham (second Sunday of Lent).

The Psalm emphasises this point: God’s law is not something that restricts life but that which gives joy and delight; something that can be trusted. Today’s psalm is a prayer of praise to the God who gives us these laws of life.

In the 2nd Reading, St Paul preaches Christ crucified to the people of ancient Corinth, for whom following Christ was merely one of many options. Paul’s call, however, is a stark one. Following the way of Jesus requires a radical choice.

In today’s Gospel, John portrays Jesus as causing ‘scandal’ (literally ‘stumbling block’ in Greek). Jesus’ action at the Temple in Jerusalem (recorded in all four Gospels) is often acknowledged to be among the events that led to his Crucifixion, and how his disciples came to believe in him.

This Lent we pray that, like his disciples, we might come to believe ever more deeply that he is the Lord, with the ‘message of eternal life’.

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