A reflection for the third Sunday of Lent

Ivan Brea reflects on the readings for March 3, 2024.
Catholic Voices

Readings (Year B):

Exodus 20:1 – 17
Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
1 Corinthians 1:22 – 25
John 2:13 – 25

Reflection: God’s authority is based in love

As many people in my life know, I tend to have a good memory, especially a good long term one. In fact, I remember my childhood quite well and can often tell someone how I felt in different situations from that period of my life. There is one thing in particular that I remember vividly—a phrase I would often hear, especially when I was being reprimanded or when I doubted the rules of my parents. This phrase was: “you will understand when you get older.”

At the time, this phrase irritated me to no end. “What does that even mean?” I would often ask them. “What if I don’t understand when I get older?”

Yet, as it turns out, when I reflect upon those moments, I often do understand why they did what they did. That isn’t to say that I agree with them, but I do now see where they came from. Ultimately, they laid out rules that my brother and I were expected to obey in order maintain what I like to call, “the peace of the household.” 


Reflecting on today’s readings, which seem to be all about legality, rules, and regulations, one can find the theme of authority running through the passages. After all, these readings include the ten commandments which God delivers to the Israelites after a period of unruliness. Moreover, we read in the gospel that Jesus also uses his authority to dispel those who would attempt to commodify the temple grounds. This authority we read about is not just any sort of authority, however; it is the authority of the king of the universe.

It is important to note that these readings remind us that unjust authority can exist, too. Didn’t the Israelites have their own authorities who at one time decided it was acceptable to engage in idol worship, and another time allowed merchants to use sacred ground for profit? The laws and rules of humans can often bring about pain, suffering, and divisiveness. After all, slavery was legal at one point. So too was segregation.

Therefore, the only rightful authority is that of God, who cares for all creation. Remember, most of the ten commandments have to do with loving our neighbors our fellow humans. It is evident that God wills our good, as God’s authority is based on love. The takeaway I get from these readings is that even if we do not fully understand what God commands us to do, we can trust that all God does for us is for our benefit.

May we always respect the authority of God, for it is only by listening to God and following the commandments of God’s kingdom, that peace can be brought to the shared household we call Earth.

About the author

Ivan Brea

Ivan Brea is a writer whose work focuses on the intersection of faith, culture, and the human experience. Currently, he is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin.

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