Salvation is not for sale

March 8, 2015 – Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 20:1-17
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25
Fr Fernando Torres, CMF
Claretian Publications

This world is a market where everything is bought and sold. Commercials constantly inform us that we can obtain every thing we need at a good price. We hear this message so many times that we end up believing it.

Sometimes we think that this is typical of our modern society but that is not true. Throughout history there has always been the idea that everything can be bought. And that idea is also applied sometimes to our relationship with God. We think that God can also be bought. God has something to offer us and we can give him something in exchange.

Perhaps that is why the Jewish people had turned the temple into a marketplace, as the gospel of John tells us today. And that is not only because there were many stalls and vendors selling offerings for the temple, souvenirs and things like that. The worst part was the mentality of the people, who thought that offering such things was a price to pay to obtain God’s favor, appease his anger and obtain forgiveness for sins.

Against such idea, the readings for this Sunday send a powerful message that our God is not for sale; that our God does not have a stall in the marketplace of life offering peace, tranquility, or health. Our God does not sell or buy anything. Our God is the one who took us out of Egypt, the one who freed us from slavery. God is the one who gives freedom, life, and salvation to those who lived in slavery and death. God does not ask for anything in return, does not ask for a price to be paid in advance.

God’s only condition is for us to live in freedom, not to allow ourselves to be enslaved by anything or anyone, to share our life. We can read again all the norms given in the first reading, and we will see how all of them are liberating, all invite us to live in solidarity, fraternity, and freedom while respecting the freedom of others.

In Lent God is revealed to us as the one who frees us from all forms of slavery. God saves us from death, the ultimate slavery. We will experience that freedom when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus in the days of Easter. God does this out of sheer grace, sheer love for us.

There is no price to pay, no prior conditions. God loves us just because. That is enough. Our part is to be grateful for what God gives us and to share with those around us. Our part is to love God as God loves us. Our part is to recognize God as our Father who loves us so.

For reflection 

  • When you come to Mass or say some prayer, do you think of how much you owe God?
  • How could you repay God for all the love and freedom he has given you in his Son, Jesus?
  • How could you share these gifts with your brothers and sisters?

 

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