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Contents: Volume 2 - 3rd Sunday Lent  – A & B –
March 4, 2018






1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Barbara Cooper, OP

3. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

4. -- Brian Gleeson CP

5. --

6. -- (Your reflection can be here!)





Lent 3 A 2018

The Gospel story about the woman at the well has been nourishing me for at least 25 years! That is pretty ironic since I first though it had absolutely no relevance to my life and said so publicly! This time around, I learned many wonderful things not only about Jesus, but about the woman at the well and myself.

Here is this woman, the town outcast of sorts because of her past exploits with four husbands. She is still trying to keep her life together by keeping a low profile. She is a bit feisty, probably how she survived, but she is also open spiritually to seeking the truth.

Short version: Jesus looks beyond her past wrongdoing and political taboos into her soul. He gives her his presence and the Truth. Not only does she accept this Good News for herself, but proclaims it loud and clear to the whole town. The result is the personal transformation from sinner to preacher as well as others learning about Jesus.

Jesus is always amazing to me. When the woman said Jesus "told me everything I have done", it was not his "mind-reading" knowledge that astonished me, but Jesus's mercy. Jesus knows everything about each of us, those big things and those small things, particularly those things that make us question ourselves and our place in the world and with God. That process is a bit like the woman's.

No matter what, Jesus offers each of us living water, given freely and abundantly. Jesus's mercy is for each of us and for all of us. This Lent, let us pray that each of us and all of us, will let Jesus's abundant mercy overtake whatever within is first so reticent to accept and serve him and instead become truly enlivened with the living water received from him.


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Third Sunday of Lent - B – March 4, 2018

Jesus, as we say, was "royally pissed off". Imagine if you went into your church on the major feast of the year, and started throwing thing around. What was it that so strongly upset him? Does Jesus still want to overturn tables and evict money lenders? Does he look at our religious practice and want to clean out the "temples" and start over? Might the space of the "temple" extend through all aspects of our lives? Do we believe that "we are the Church" as Vatican 2 taught, and more, that all of creation is an Incarnation of the Divine Mystery, a temple of the One we call God?

Jesus enters the magnificent Jerusalem Temple built by Herod. There he encounters the money changers – those who converted currency from secular coins to the acceptable coinage for worship. How much did they charge for their service? Did they have the advantage of being a monopoly? As Dr Joseph Lee asked in his blog: "No Simple Answers": "was it that the powerful were taking advantage of people's religious beliefs for their own personal gain"?

How would Jesus react to our religious practice today? Would he agree that some people should be banned because, well, they have been judged by others to be "not orthodox". Would he excommunicate people who question some teaching that has been believed "forever".

Would he foster the attitudes that reject some people because they are different sexually, or economically challenged, or of a different skin colour or Nation? Would he condone decisions made for financial gain or the use of money to hide wrong doing?

The heart of Jesus was open to others – to Samaritans, and women, and tax collectors, and children who others thought were too noisy and should be sent away. He welcomed a Roman soldier who occupied the territory as a conqueror, and ate with the Jewish authorities who eventually rejected him. The love and compassion of Jesus was boundless and embraced all. When violence and hate were present, he overturned it.

The Jewish leaders demanded a sign from him, something that would validate Jesus' authority to act in this manner. The sign Jesus points to is his death and resurrection. His death witnessed to his integrity and faithfulness to the Holy One he called "Father", even when life seemed stacked against him. His resurrection caught us up in his life, becoming our life, carrying on the call to repent, to clean out the old stuff and make room for the Spirit.

Do we care enough to overturn a few tables?

Barbara Cooper, OP

Vancouver Island, BC Canada





Third Sunday of Lent March 4 2018 (B)

Exodus 20:1-17; Responsorial Psalm 19; 1st Corinthians 1:22-25; Gospel Acclamation John 3:16; John 2:13-25

Have you ever noticed that the time line in John’s gospel doesn’t match the sequence of events in Matthew, Mark, and Luke? Whose gospel is right? Which gospel should we trust as the one that actually matches the events of the historical Jesus? This Sunday in John’s gospel, immediately after selecting his disciples and his first miracle at the wedding of Cana, Jesus goes to the temple and displays his displeasure at the money changers and sellers of livestock and birds. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke this scene follows Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem – our celebration of Palm Sunday. This event is just before the last supper and Jesus trial, passion, and death. How could John have gotten this so very wrong? Perhaps it was because John’s gospel was the last to be written and maybe John just forgot when it happened? After all, the first years of Christianity were pretty hectic with conversions, preaching, studies and discussions of the Hebrew writings and the history of Yahweh’s interaction. Do we need to forgive John for his senior moment? If we’re looking for an historical Jesus we make a mistake that makes us focus on the events in all the gospels as something that happened in the past. The differences among all four gospels derive from differing aspects of the same truth that is Jesus the Christ. John places this cleansing of the temple at the beginning of his gospel in chapter two to make the point that Jesus’ life and ministry are about making God present among us in a personal way. God comes to us to share our lives, to prove to us God’s love and compassion. God can empathize with our condition because God himself shares in our lives. And this is not a matter of an historical past: it is a matter of an historical present: God is with us even now and not in some distant past event. John places this cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry to help us realize this truth. It is the truth and John places it at the beginning to emphasize that the Incarnation means that God lives among us.

So neither the age of John nor the time between the Jesus’s resurrection and ninety years after the birth of Jesus were the cause of the strange ordering of John’s gospel. Another example of this strange ordering is contained in the narrative John substitutes for the last supper in the other gospels. John places the institution of the Eucharist at the miracle of the loaves and fishes. At the last meal together Jesus tells the apostles to love one another as he loves them and demonstrates that love by washing their feet and commanding them to do as he has done. We call that the mandatum – Latin for "the command" -- from which the term Maundy Thursday is derived.

The temple for the Jew was not a temple, but the "house of Yahweh." John’s message is that the ministry of Jesus is making God present to creation. That presence is a presence of love and compassion. This is the key to John’s gospel. John uses the historical event of the cleansing of the temple to state the reason for the Incarnation, the ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in God’s plan for his creation.

The miracle of Cana leads us to the narrative of the temple cleansing is a blessing of family and signals a new creation. In the Genesis creation story water plays a significant part. John reminds us the first creation is the basis on which the new creation builds. The Genesis story begins with a description of the chaos of the oceans, of unbound and stormy water, an image of the chaos of a perfect storm. Through God’s creative work, those stormy and chaotic waters are channeled into an order that allows water to achieve its potential. There is the water in the firmament which provides rain to make a sterile dry earth fruitful. There is water bubbling up in springs to serve as drink for plants and all living beings. There is the water contained in rivers and lakes for a home for fishes and sea creatures. These are the source of nourishment for living beings. On the sixth day, God creates living beings from the earth make fertile by the ordered water. All creatures wild and tame came from the moistened earth. And finally in the most ancient story of the creation of humanity, God fashioned a form of a man from the clay softened and held together by water. It was that first man whose very breath of life came from the lips of God. Man is defined by Genesis as a little of the earth and a little of God. John’s gospel presents the miracle of Cana as a miracle of human life recreated. The old life is like water stored in huge stone jars near the house entrance from which guests and householders could refresh themselves, washing away the dirt of the world that weighs down the human spirit. In John’s story of Cana the ordinariness of that water was recreated and became excellent wine to enliven, enrich, and warms human life. All creation is repurposed by the incarnation of the Son of God. This signals a new creation enlivened by God’s presence. John’s narrative of the Samaritan Woman at the well is also about water, living water. It is the coming of the Spirit of God through the work of Jesus that changes everything.

Following the wedding at Cana, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. This is the most important feast of the Jews. It is a ritual remembering of the event when the Hebrew Tribes were freed from slavery to Pharaoh. But it is more than that. It is a reliving of every event of release from bondage in the history of the Nation. That includes the release from Babylon and the period of the Maccabees when the nation was freed from the cultural domination of the Greeks after the conquest by Alexander the Great. Even today in celebration of Passover the head of the household announces, "It is not only our forefathers whose families were released from slavery in Egypt. We too are released." The history of Judaism is filled with repeated cycles of slavery and release from slavery by God’s intervention. The Pharaoh of the Exodus story is un-named not because his name was unknowable or forgotten. The chroniclers of that intervention by God want us to know that pharaoh is anyone who uses power, wealth, fame, or influence to oppress others. To oppress others is to rob them of their individual possibilities that must be available to them to reach fullness of person for which God created them. In our own time we have experienced and continue to experience – perhaps even in ourselves – many we can identify as a present day pharaoh. May God save us from such persons!

As Jesus comes to the temple to celebrate Passover, he discovers much noise from frightened animals, from the struggles of birds against their cages or bondages, and the loud haggling over prices and exchange rates. Money changers hawked their services for changing idolatrous coins of the empire into temple coins for the temple treasury. It was a market place, a place of business and a distraction for those coming to worship, to give thanks, and to pray for guidance and help in dealing with the difficulties of human life. The competition of this religious business conflicted with recognition of the presence of God. That conflict made ritual prayer and sacrifice an empty worship, meaningless and a fruitless appeal to Yahweh for health and guidance. This noisy commerce became a business of religion. It’s an easy to be distracted by the business of religion. After all we need instruments for worship; decoration of places of worship drawn worshippers to focus on God; flowers to be bring us to an appreciation of the glory of God. We no longer have bloody sacrifices so we no longer have animals and birds to sell. We no longer consider images on coins and folding money as idolatry. However, it’s just as easy to make our rituals, our Masses and prayer services a mere show, something presented for the entertainment for the pew people. We come together to worship, to share, and become one with the Christ in the Body of the Christ. We come to lift up our hearts, to find refreshment for our spirits, to replace our despairs with hope, and our failures and faults with forgiveness and reconciliation. The money changers and sellers of sacrifices thought they were selling grace. That was the tragedy of Catholicism which resulted in the Reformation and the break-up of the unity of the church! The point is we can’t make deals with God.

Jesus purged the House of Yahweh of decadent commerce so the presence of God might be experienced. God’s presence is best experienced when we live and take to heart his commandments we heard in the first reading. God is present to us when we live our lives according to those guides which deny the noise of the world. When we fail to listen with our hearts we allow the din of the market-place and the business of coin and cash to seduce us away from God’s presence in our community, in our families, in our work and in our play. The summary of the Ten Commandments is in the two great commandments – "Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself." Most of us have trouble with this accepting all persons as our neighbors. It’s difficult to think of immigrants as our neighbors: it’s hard to think of refugees as our neighbors: it’s next to impossible to think of persons who have harmed us or our loved ones as neighbors. Only with the energy of God, only with the power of recreation provided by the Spirit of God can we ever achieve such a state of mind and heart.

Our Responsorial is from John’s gospel: "Lord, you have the words of everlasting Life." The psalm verses speak of hope in God’s presence; the law of the Lord is perfect and makes our lives meaningful and purpose filled. God’s law and ordinances are life-giving. The Gospel Acclamation reinforces that thought. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life." That is the message of the gospel: we must never let the business of religion prevent us from discovering God’s presence among us. That is the message that is Jesus the Christ. He is present among us.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians says we shouldn’t listen to the Jews who demand signs to prove God’s presence. We shouldn’t seek to find God in the wisdom of the Greeks. Our source of inspiration and our source of enlightenment is the foolishness of the Cross. And just what is that foolishness? It’s clearly not a massive building: it’s clearly not a series of miracles that impress: it’s not arguments full of wisdom and logic. It’s the foolishness of the Cross. The foolishness insists God loves us so much that he is willing to endure the worst mankind can use to frighten, harm, and coerce. He loves us so much that he wishes to share our life and our death us as proof of God’s love and compassion for us. That is the commandment of God to his dream.

"The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!"

Carol & Dennis Keller






We heard it said of Jesus in the gospel: ‘Zeal for your house will devour me.’ An Irish Jesuit priest, Paul O’Reilly, has told a story against himself about zeal and reverence for the house of God. When he was still a deacon, Paul was put in charge of the altar servers. He was a flop in the job. So they took it away from him and gave it to a zealous layman called Adrian.

Now Adrian is one of those people who are naturally good with young people. He’s outgoing, cheerful, down-to-earth and easy to get along with. He liked the altar servers and they liked and respected him. Within a few weeks of his taking over, the number of servers had doubled, and they started turning up on time for practices. Most importantly their work on the altar was much improved. Everybody, including Paul, was very pleased that Adrian had taken over the job and was making such a big success of it.

Then one day Paul happened to be in the church when Adrian caught two of the altar servers chewing gum in church. He went absolutely berserk. He shouted, he screamed, he yelled at them for what must have been ten minutes. And all through that time he kept saying one thing over and over again: ‘You are altar servers. You are here to reverence God in the church. You do not chew gum in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.’

Paul thought this ticking off would be the end. Surely after that the altar servers would rebel. There would be deputations to the parish priest, and one big hullabaloo. And worst of all Paul was afraid that the job of training them would come back to him.

In fact, none of those things happened. By the very next day it became clear that the servers respected and followed Adrian more than ever. It made Paul stop and think. He reached this conclusion: - What the altar servers respected in their leader was that he was angry for the right reasons. He was not angry because they had done anything personal against him. He was angry for the Lord, for the reverence that is due to God‘s house. Zeal for God’s house had devoured him.

The whole point of being an altar server is to bring reverence to the Mass, the reverence that is due to the greatness and goodness of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Mass is the way we Catholics fulfil the first three of the Ten Commandments which were presented in our First Reading tonight (today): -

You will have no gods but me.

You will do nothing to dishonour my holy name.

You will keep holy the day of rest, my special day.

The reason we come to Mass every Sunday is not just to hear a homily. It is not simply out of a sense of duty, custom, or tradition. It is not merely to have the pleasure of meeting our friends and fellow parishioners. It is not only to receive Jesus our Saviour in Holy Communion. No, we come to Mass in the first place to give praise, honour and thanksgiving to God, from whom all blessings flow. And if we too have enough reverence, respect and love for God, then zeal for his house and for his interests will devour us too.

But please, Paul concludes his story, let’s not take out our zeal for God and the reverence due to God on out altar servers. We need them as much as ever. Anyway, they’re doing the best they can! Don’t you agree?

"Brian Gleeson CP" <>









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