Lenten Reflections to support your spiritual journey over these forty days – brought to you
by Catholic Volunteer Network and the Catholic Apostolate Center.
Third Sunday of Lent Reflection
by Anthony Butler, former volunteer with Dominican Volunteers USA
“Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
“But he was speaking about the temple of his body.” Is the Gospel telling us our bodies are temples? Did this happen or is this a fable meant to convey our value is God-given and not bought or exchanged? Our bodies are temples that deserve care and attention, and are not to be subjected to consumerist tendencies, but safeguarded from potential evil.
Am I trying to guilt trip us here? No. I think we all fail to measure up from time to time. We try other avenues and other stuff to get closer to God. We fill up our bodies and our minds with clutter and forget the simplicity of being a follower of Christ. We forget our bodies, our lives, are for a purpose.
This Gospel passage and the season of Lent calls us to be vigilant. Our lives become cluttered when we fail to eschew the lures of the world. Whenever we complicate our faith, we end up inadvertently distancing ourselves from one another and therefore from God. May we take a good, hard look at the temples—our bodies, our lives—with which God has gifted us. What needs cleansed? Are we bold enough to allow Jesus to enter in and cleanse us? Do we allow others who recognize our gifts to help us declutter and refocus on what really matters? Our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit dwells, and from there urges us to fulfill the purpose to which we are called.
Focus on: Community
One of the best aspects the volunteer year was having a community with whom to share my experience. We learned from the collective wisdom that was present among us, and we were fortunate that some members of the community—the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa—just happened to have a bit more seasoned wisdom. We kept one another true to the purpose for which God called us. Community was often an exercise in recognizing God in one another; it served as a means for going back to our ministry sites and engaging people who were different from ourselves but seeing they all reflected God’s image.
We thank you that we are imprinted with your image.
Help us to admit when we are complicating our faith
And may we always allow you to cleanse us.
Surround us with loving people who reflect your image
And let us know when we need to simplify our lives.
This we ask through the holy name of Jesus.
My suggestion is that we seek out those who need to declutter their homes. Maybe there is someone you know who needs help cleaning out their attic or basement. As we help others remove their clutter, we can consider the detritus in our own lives that needs attention. We are a community of faith; when we help others we always help ourselves in the process.
About the Author:
Anthony Butler served with Dominican Volunteers USA in 2005-2006 as an assistant teacher at Visitation Catholic School in Chicago. He has since served on staff with the program, and completed his MA in Theology at Catholic Theological Union. He has taught high school theology and was campus minister at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. Tony is currently the DRE at St. Augustine Parish in Rensselaer. He is married to another former volunteer, Brenda, and they have two young children.