Liturgy of the Sunday

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Third Sunday of Lent

First Reading

Exodus 20,1-17

Then God spoke all these words. He said, 'I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. 'You shall have no other gods to rival me. 'You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. 'You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God and I punish a parent's fault in the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren among those who hate me; but I act with faithful love towards thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 'You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name. 'Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the alien living with you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the Sabbath day and made it sacred. 'Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you. 'You shall not kill. 'You shall not commit adultery. 'You shall not steal. 'You shall not give false evidence against your neighbour. 'You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's house. You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's spouse, or servant, man or woman, or ox, or donkey, or any of your neighbour's possessions.'


Psalm 18


The word of the Lord is pure and everlasting.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.

Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night makes known the message.

No speech, no word,
no voice is heard

yet their span extends through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

There he has placed a tent for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his tent,
rejoices like a champion to run its course.

At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun;
to the furthest end of the sky is its course.
There is nothing concealed from its burning heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.

The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.

The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is holy, abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just.

They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb.

So in them your servant finds instruction;
great reward is in their keeping.

But who can detect all his errors?
From hidden faults acquit me.

From presumption restrain your servant
and let it not rule me.

Then shall I be blameless,
clean from grave sin.

May the spoken words of my mouth,
the thoughts of my heart,

win favour in your sight, O Lord,
my rescuer, my rock!

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1,22-25

While the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, we are preaching a crucified Christ: to the Jews an obstacle they cannot get over, to the gentiles foolishness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is both the power of God and the wisdom of God. God's folly is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

Reading of the Gospel

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 2,13-25

When the time of the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there. Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers' coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, 'Take all this out of here and stop using my Father's house as a market.' Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: I am eaten up with zeal for your house. The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us that you should act like this?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?' But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said. During his stay in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he did, but Jesus knew all people and did not trust himself to them; he never needed evidence about anyone; he could tell what someone had within.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory


"The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." Easter is drawing near also to us. With maternal concern, the Church unites us to the group of disciples accompanying Jesus who goes up to Jerusalem. Three weeks have passed, and we ask ourselves whether we are faithful to the path that was proposed to us. It is easy also for us, as it was for the disciples then, to focus more on our concerns than those of the Gospel, slowing our pace and getting farther from the Lord. But the Lord comes back to speak to us and to gather us around his Word. We are not a people who walk without words or a destination to reach. If anything, we should ask whether the light of this Word continues to enlighten our steps.
The reading from Exodus reminds us of the "ten words" God gave Moses on Sinai. They were the first words that the Israelites heard. The Ten Commandments, looking at them attentively, however, are not simply a series of moral norms. They are much more: in them is expressed the entire fundamental content from which are derived the whole of the law and the prophets, in other words, love of the Lord and love for one's neighbour. The two tablets are tightly connected one another, and express this double love that must govern the itinerary of believers. However, we all know how easy it to get distracted from love, and not having the goal in front of our eyes. The apostle Peter reminds Christians to be sober and watchful - this is what Lent is - for "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith" (1 Pt 5:8-9).
Once in Jerusalem, Jesus enters into the temple and makes a small whip with which start chasing out sellers and money traders. We could interpret this scene as a manifestation of jealousy on the part of Jesus as it is written: "Zeal for your house devours me." It is a Jesus particularly hard and resolute; he well knows that in a temple where these small transactions are accepted, it can get to the point that even the life of a man can be sold for a mere thirty silver pieces. But what is the market that scandalizes Jesus? It is that which happens in our hearts. It is a market that scandalizes the Lord Jesus even more because the heart is the true temple in which God wants to dwell. Such a market has to do with the way one conceives and conducts one's life. How often is life reduced to a buying and selling process, no longer with gratuitous love! The law of self-interest, or that of the group or nation, seems to inexorably preside over human life.
Jesus once again enters into our life, as he entered the temple, and turns this primacy upside down; he throws up in the air the little benches of our petty interests and reaffirms God's absolute primacy. It is the zeal that Jesus has for each one of us, for our heart, for our life, that it might open up to receive God. This is why every Sunday becomes like the whip which Jesus uses to change our hearts. The Gospel is the "double-edged sword" of which the apostle Paul speaks that cuts till the marrow in order to separate us from evil. "What sign can you show us to do these things?" they ask Jesus. It is the opposition that we still put before the Gospel in our life. Evil and sin, pride and selfishness seek all means to hinder love in the life of the world. And yet it is precisely in accepting the Lord's love that we find salvation.