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Contents: Volume 2Third Sunday of Lent



March 3, 2024

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP
2. -- Dennis Keller
3. -- John Boll OP
4. --
5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

Lent 3 A 2024

Sometimes it is easy when we hear/read familiar passages of Scripture to glide through them. I always find something "new" or rather something that makes me think a little deeper than in previous years. That is the case this Sunday.

In the Gospel according to John, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well/cistern. It is a wonderful story of faith received through openness. It is also a model for spreading the Good News in unorthodox ways to all people as Jesus did in this case.

Jesus often talked in vague ways that were not understood by the apostles and often us to this day! This time, Jesus says: "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work." That must have been a bit confusing to the apostles who were off getting food for themselves and a physically hungry Jesus.

For us though, we know that Jesus 's mention of food was as spiritual nourishment. It is true that even we feel uplifted when we do something positive and even more so, when an important positive task is completed. To me, that seems like a double bonus in times that can weigh us down.

Perhaps this Lent is a time to fast from what weighs us down. It is not that simple as avoiding those things as we well know. What I'd like to suggest is that each of us take the time to name whatever weighs each of us down and then pray about what we might do instead to counteract that feeling. That suggestion might seem like a different kind of prayer perhaps, but it is one that might help balance the challenges of daily life as we, too, seek to do the will of the Father.

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP
Southern Dominican Laity

Third Sunday of Lent March 3, 2023 Year B
Gospel Verse: John 3:16; John 2:13-35

Through out the past decades there has been an increasing focus on the mercy, compassion, and loving kindness of God. The rules of engagement with the Divine fade into the background and carry less threat of damnation because it’s easier to trust in the graciousness of God toward us.

Perhaps that’s because society goes through cycles of strict adherence to the commandments followed by an everything goes that produces something without regard for the common good or the incredible worth of every person. Respect for persons in the stricter times is important. In the more carefree times, the focus tends to look on others as what they can do for me in search of accumulation. The commandments run contrary to “me as my own god.” So much sought after power, wealth, and fame are about me. That relationship, so focused on me close us in. Our relationships suffer from self-centeredness. Always!

The start of the Commandments is about our relationship with God. Keeping God the center of life. Just as in the first reading this Sunday, the Hebrew nation did not see God as did Moses. But in what appeared to be an extraordinary weather and seismic event God’s presence was felt and recognized. Wouldn’t it have been a joy to have been there! To have felt the presence of God would have knocked out of us any inclination to lack of faith. In truth, God’s presence is near to us at every moment. God the Creator’s presence is all around us. We must have clean ears to hear the gentle breeze, bright eyes to take in the glory of nature. More to the heart of the matter, our hearts, the objects of appreciation, of respect, of joy at the presence of others – our hearts must be clear of irrelevant junk placed there by the values of the world.

It is no surprise then that Jesus comes to Jerusalem at Passover. In the history of the Hebrew nation Passover was the beginning. Released from the tyranny of Pharoah (a personification of power, wealth, and image seeking). When he comes to the temple there is a reenactment of the Golden Calf – representing the fertility god common among Canaanite nations. Jesus behaves as did Moses. He chases away the buyers and sellers, the exchangers of coins for the temple tax. In addition to corrupting the temple, these businesspeople were dishonest. So, the temple where God was present to the people was corrupted. God is Creator, giver of life. God sets aside one day a week to relax and remember God’s goodness. The Sabbath is a day for family, for reflection. That is the very foundation of a relationship – both corporately and personally – with the God of the Covenant. As Jesus came to Jerusalem to fashion and establish the new covenant, here is the beginning of the New Covenant. This covenant is the release from the effects of the way of the world and its crushing specter, death. The temple Jesus was speaking about when he said if you destroy this temple (this presence among you of God) my body, I will raise it up in three days. Of course, this made no sense to even his apostles and disciples. And they wondered.

The gospel chosen for this Sunday is a break from Matthew. John places this scene at the beginning of his Gospel. John uses symbolism to depict truth of Jesus. This is the prediction of his death. And while the covenant of Moses was about living first of all in a positive relationship with God; here the covenant of Jesus went beyond death. In his statement Jesus presents death as leading to more than the life all persons have. His being raised in three days tells us our life is not over when death comes knocking. It becomes a passageway, a portal into resurrected, un-ending life. We should not miss the modeling of Jesus. There is suffering that connects us the suffering of the Christ that is redemptive. Resurrection is for those who follow the Christ. To follow Jesus The Christ begins with understanding and practicing the commandments.

Dennis Keller

2021-03-03 Homily notes

Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; I Cor. 1:22-25; John 2:13-25

It happens to celebrities and leaders all the time.
They do some great things and they gain all kinds of fans
that follow their every move and accomplishment.
But they have to be careful, ... they begin to challenge their fans on some issue,
or back out of the lime light, or show human frailty,
and all of the sudden their fans turn against them
or turn to the next big thing..

We know this happens to Jesus when the crowd,
after acclaiming On Palm Sunday:
“Blest is he who comes in the Name of the Lord”,
They Cry out on Good Friday “Crucify Him”!

So we see Jesus, in John’s Gospel,
at the beginning of his ministry gaining popularity:
“While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them
because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.”

This is a strange and maybe troubling passage:
Here are people believing in Jesus,
and he seems to disrespect them.
We know Jesus affirmed and encouraged
all kinds of unsavory types as they came to faith,
and often presented them as examples of true faith.

So what is going on here?
What do we need to know to understand Jesus’ reaction.

I have always attributed this passage
to John affirming the divine nature of Jesus.
So that, just as God is omniscient, so Jesus knows all things too.

But I learned that It is important to notice
that the issue of “signs” has a central role in today’s passage.

Jesus begins his ministry with a prophetic challenge
and cleanses the temple.
The authorities respond by asking him for a sign.
And later, it is the crowd that sees his signs
– and begins to believe in him.

Although signs can be a great help in awakening us to faith,
St Paul points out
“Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified”

In our spiritual life, we too can demand signs,
It is so easy to get locked into them – to demand them.
To expect God to make things easy for us.
(and to Get rid of all our troubles)
To the point that in reality, we believe in the Signs and not in God.
Do I believe and trust IN the Good things God does for me,
or do I trust and believe IN God?
If the signs are not there,
Do I think that God does not care anymore?

It would be like marrying someone
only for what they can do for me,
and when they can no longer do, or be, those things,
I say it is all over!
In that case I love what they do for me, and not the person.

In the spiritual life we must mature beyond the infatuation stage,
beyond the signs, and learn to Love God
– entering into love and trust in our beloved,
... with or without signs.

You have heard that the Holy Spirit is called the “Consoler.”

The Scriptures speak of the “consolation of the Holy Spirit.
We often experience it as we come to, and grow in, faith.

In essence the charism of consolation is a “sense of God’s presence.”

At times that sense of presence disappears for a while.
(The Saints have referred to this as the Desert Experience,
or the Dark night of the Soul.)

During such a time, without the supports of signs and feelings,
we can come to believe in God far more powerfully and personally.

If we always rely on “signs” and feelings
to know that God IS present,
then, the danger is we will let go of our faith
because that what we have come to believe in is the feeling
and not the God, who is always faithfully present.

It is often, that only when the feeling and signs of God’s
presence and power are not there,
that we mature to love God for God’s self.

Jesus is striving to bring the people in the Gospel (and us)
beyond the “signs” that help us along
to a direct and life-giving relationship
with the God, who is Love.

Jesus calls us into the journey of profound trust in God
even when there are no signs to rely on.
Jesus calls us To fall in love with our God.
And in God, To fall in love with our sisters and brothers.
Jesus calls us To love one another
beyond our utilitarian tendencies.
Jesus calls us to where the gifts we receive and give,
are not some currency to buy devotion,
but rather they become “signs” of the love
we have come to know in God.

We actually do know this deep down,

The Marriage vows we profess make it clear,
we promise:
to love and honor
for better, for worse
For richer for poorer,
In sickness and in health,

Until ...
we gather in the fullness of life, who is God,
the God we have come to love!

Fr. John J. Boll, O.P. <>


Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr. John Boll, OP



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