Third Sunday of Lent

“Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” This is how this Sunday’s gospel (John 2: 13-25) begins.On special days and feasts, what church or place of worship do you seek out? What is this space like in which you praise and celebrate God?

I am reminded of my own parish church in Germany, St. Nikomedes. We lived in about 10 minutes walking distance from it. This is the church of my upbringing and also of some deep experiences with God. It was here that I received the sacraments. My faith was nurtured here. Many a time, I would stop by the church and just sit, enjoying the spaciousness of it and being overwhelmed by a sense of sacredness, peacefulness and utter safety. The silence in the church invited me to a contemplative way of praying. St. Nikomedes is also the place of my vocation.

St. Nikomedes

I remember especially one Saturday afternoon when I was about 16 years old. Sitting in the church, I read over a prayer by Roger Schütz, the founder of Taizé:

“You kept on saying: Live the little bit of the gospel you have grasped. Proclaim my life. Light fire on the earth . . . You, follow me.Until one day I understood: you were asking me to commit myself to the point of no return.

The connection to a sacred place can always stay with us. Our hearts resonate with the revelation of God’s presence and our memories of sacred moments.

Considering this, can you imagine what it must have been like for Jesus walking up to his place of worship and finding all this trading going on? Business being done in the temple area? The temple in Jerusalem was the destination and primary place of worship for Jews at Jesus’ time.

Temple in Jerusalem at Jesus' time
Temple in Jerusalem at Jesus’ time

John reports, “His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.”

On our Lenten journey, may we show our zeal for our places of worship. May Lent be the sacred time during which we spend a little more time in the sacred spaces that connect us with the presence of God.

Andrea Westkamp, OSB

St. Benedict Monastery,

Bristow, VA

Author: 3osb

We are Sisters and Oblates of three Benedictine Monasteries who work together on communicating the Benedictine charism: Emmanuel Monastery, Lutherville, MD St. Gertrude Monastery, Ridgely, MD St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA

2 thoughts on “Third Sunday of Lent”

  1. Your experiences are like mine. I loved my parish church. Every time that I would return to PA I would attend Mass there. It was a homecoming. I usually took a few pictures on each visit. I was so disappointed to learn that St. Mary’, my parish church, with the beautiful mosaic icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa was closed. The reason given was because there is a priest shortage. My group was the first Confirmation class to receive that sacrament there in September of 1966. I always felt safe and protected there. I wonder what the Greensburg Diocese will do with the church of my youth. Thank God that I have some beautiful photos of the church at Easter and Christmas. I always felt grateful and reverent there.


  2. Your reflection reminds me of a special place for God and me. There is a particular area in’
    Burke Lake Park in Fairfax County, near my home. There is a paved surface that goes
    uphill and the trees arch over the road in a natural way, but uniformly enough that it reminds
    me of some of the European cathedrals, or the National Cathedral. The “ribs” of those
    Gothic churches arch up to the ceiling in much the same way that the trees arch over
    the walkway. And sometimes when I am walking, the sun shines through the trees,
    like the stained glass Holy Spirit window at the Vatican. Very special for me.


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