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Sunday, March 2, 1997

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3rd Sunday of Lent

Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

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"He was well aware of what was in man's heart." —John 2:25

We all have been born with a severe spiritual heart defect. We all need open-heart surgery. Jesus is "the Surgeon General." Jesus alone is well aware of what is in our hearts (Jer 17:10). He alone is capable of doing this operation. He already did it on Calvary. This operation was applied to our hearts when we were baptized into Jesus' death (Rm 6:3) and decided by faith to live the new life of baptism.

However, we must guard our new hearts by not letting them become hardened by sin and closed through selfishness (see Ps 95:8). We should ask Jesus to purify our hearts. He will drive out of our lives all that is not in His will (see Jn 2:15). He will turn many tables in our lives and spill our coins (Jn 2:15). He will overturn many of our plans and may dispose of such things as savings, pensions, investments, stocks, etc. The Lord will "clean house."

When Jesus purifies our temple, it is heart-wrenching. Our first reaction is to drive Jesus out (cf Mt 8:34). However, if we resist this temptation by trusting in the Lord even if we don't understand what He's doing, then our new hearts will stay new and will even become like Jesus' heart (see Mt 11:29). "Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make our hearts like Yours."

Prayer:  Father, as the Church throughout the world prays the "First Scrutiny" today for catechumens, scrutinize my heart also.

Promise:  "For God's folly is wiser than men, and His weakness more powerful than men." —1 Cor 1:25

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who scrutinizes our hearts and tells us everything we've ever done (Jn 4:29).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996