Deacon Wayne's Homily on Peace on 14 January 2024 . Freely share for any non commercial purpose
25 February 2024: 2nd Sunday of Lent (Cycle B)
Contributor: Cecilia Skudder (Cjs)
Mark 9: 2 to 10
Jesus climbed a mountain, taking Peter James and John.
Suddenly in their presence, His clothes and face just shone.
Moses then did join them, and Elijah did so too.
Overawed with wonder, Peter thought what he should do.
But just as he was speaking, to suggest his grand idea,
a voice from out the heavens, spoke up both loud and clear.
“My Son is the Beloved, so listen now to Him.”
The disciples they did tremble, in each and every limb.
But Jesus gently touched them, “Fear not” said Christ our Lord.
Came they from the mountain, their safety now assured.
“Tell no one of these happenings, till the mission is fulfilled.
When Son of Man has risen, that’s what I have willed.”
They observed His strict instruction, but puzzled on the phrase
“Rising from the dead,” this did confuse them and amaze.
Just like those disciples, we’re frightened many times.
Life may treat us badly; we may be victims of some crimes.
We trust in Jesus always, in good times and in bad.
Whatever will befall us, especially when we’re sad.
He loves us so completely, is ever at our side.
We’ll tell our troubles to Him, since nothing can we hide.
Forgive each other’s trespass; we’ll live life in His way,
and care for one another, giving praise to God today. Cjs
The Transfiguration....how frightened the Apostles must have been at this ‘out of world’ experience, and they tried to explain it in the best way they could.
Jesus knew outsiders would never understand or believe so asked the Apostles not to tell of the happenings until after he had risen from the dead. This phrase the apostles did not understand either. They were blissfully unaware of what was to be Christ’s fate, though He knew everything.
We have the benefit of hindsight; we know Christ has died and that He has risen.
Lord help us to trust in You always. Amen.
3 March 2024: 3rd Sunday in Lent. (Cycle B)
Contributor: Bob Skudder
John 2: 13-25.
The temple of God was a place where heaven and earth overlapped in the Jewish mind. They offered sacrifices and prayer as they gathered in the place marked by God‘s presence, so as the nation gathered in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple to point to his own body as the true and better temple. The ancient temple had fallen short of its purpose over the years, and had become a place of exclusivity, injustice and greed. In this passage Jesus points to his own body as the new temple that would bring people into God‘s presence through his own death and resurrection.
Jesus goes into the temple to clear out the corruption that had developed over the decades.
Why the outrage and need to clean out the temple?
The temple was designed as a place for God and for people to gather together and offer sacrifice, praise and to experience his presence. Over the years, various outdoor courts were added to allow for more people. The central part of the temple was the Holy of Holies the place where God displayed his presence to the high priest, who would enter once a year on the day of atonement. However various other courtyards were designed for people to gather, pray and offer sacrifice including the courts of the gentiles. Since people were travelling from all over the nation to come to sacrifice, the law of God made provision for people to buy an animal for sacrifice, instead of carrying one with them for weeks. It appears that various merchants would set up shop down in the Kidron valley outside the temple, but over the years, these merchants moved closer and closer to the temple area even taking up residence in the court of the gentiles. Instead of being a place where you’d hear prayers to Yahweh and people making sacrifices for their sins, people could be heard haggling over sheep and the changing of money. This took place in a location reserved for the nations together, specifically for people who wanted to follow and worship Yahweh, but were not ethnically Jewish. To make matters worse, the merchants would put up the prices of the animals and skim extra profits from the money changing. Jesus does not specifically pick out these shrewd business practices, but does condemn the taking over of the temple grounds for business. God’s intention for the outsider is to worship him, but on display here is injustice towards the nations, and this outraged Jesus.
Jesus’ cleansing is intentional and purposeful. He makes his own whip, and the language is forceful stating he “drove them out.” We may cringe at the thought of him making a whip, but it would be difficult to move big animals out of the courtyard without one, and there are no specific details saying he used the whip on people. He did in fact tell those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” (The pigeon sellers were the poor people, so Jesus did not want to destroy their livelihood.)
Why was the Temple so special? The Temple was often referred to as " the house " in ancient Israel, and it is said the Messiah would be consumed by zeal for this house ( Psalm 69.9 ). Likewise, we are told this house would be a place of prayer for the nations. The prophet Isaiah calls the people of God to act in Justice and to be outward focused in seeing those who were from other nations to come to faith in Yahweh. Specifically the Temple is called a house of prayer for the nations, but merchants and money changers were preventing the nations from being in the presence of God and offering prayer to him ( Isaiah 56: 1-7 ).
Because God cares deeply about outsiders, and the corruption of the worship of his people, we can now see why Jesus drove them all out of the temple.
That was over 2000 years ago, yet even today, we still have people using Christianity to sell their merchandise at Christmas time, with lights and decorations, games for the children and putting up the price of food, all to make a profit, with no real thought of why we are celebrating Christmas. Then before the Season is over the adverts are urging us to buy Easter eggs.
How long will it be before merchants are in our places of worship to sell their merchandise?
Then we would have completed a full cycle.
The cleansing of the Temple points to a second exodus from sin and death. God’s desire is for pure worship as we follow Christ in faith.