Thursday, 8 March 2018


                                                  GOD  SO  LOVED THE  WORLD

'He's got the whole world in His hands’.  

So I sing as I prepare my sermon!. On my desk is a small rubber ball. I take it in my hands and gaze at it intensely. In my imagination I see God’s world  with  oceans and land masses painted upon it.

 I see  God affectionately admiring this work of art, the world He has created. It is beautiful, is lovely…and so is everyone, everything within it.  He made every human being in His own image and likeness. Like Him we are capable of person-to-person relationships – with Him first of all, most of all, with us joining Him in loving  other persons. 

ALL OTHER PERSONS, precisely because God is love and all of us  are His god-like beloved children.  God’s human family  all of us are siblings to one another...inescapably. God, not we, did made it so. God made as lovable to Himself and to one another. He made us to enjoy loving Him and to enjoy loving one another. God does not hate. He loves. When talking about God’s creation, hatred should be unmentionable, so should, spite, and jealousy. These ugly sentiments lead to retaliation and revenge.

God will never cease to love His world together with each of the seven and a half billion people on the face of the earth being uniquely precious to God, each loved by much that  He sent His Son to join us. By becoming Man, Jesus, became Brother Jesus to each of today’s tremendous crowd and to the billions upon billions now deceased and to those yet to be born. All made to be loved by Jesus, to love Jesus, and in so doing all to  love one another.

The bond of love between God and mankind was first broken by the original sin of the original couple, Adam and Eve. The love bond within the human family was first broken when Cain murdered his brother, Abel. Since then, even to this very moment the bonds within the human family have been, and are still being, fractured and fragmented, within the home, the neighbourhood, the nation, between nations.

The differences within the human family which are and always will be the glory of God’s creation, have been become grounds for division - , gender, race, complexion, culture, nationality, social class, political allegiance and, not least, religion. The friction expresses itself through aggression, exploitation, anger, jealousy, greed, violence and lust. Every violation of humanity is an offence against God, the Lord of all creation. 

The ties of love that bind us to God are stretched, ruptured, by the sinful decisions by mankind. And yet God never has decided to cease loving each one of His beloved children, the massive crowd of human beings, and never will. "I shall not forget you. Look, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” (Isaiah 49.15).

 As proof positive of God’s total sincerity today’s Gospel tells us, “This is how God loved the world: he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life,” (Jn.3.6). In Jesus there is the  sublime bonding between the divine nature and the human. Jesus claims for Himself  unsurpassable  love, “No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you,” (Jn.15.i3).

 "God our Saviour "wants everyone to be saved and reach full  knowledge of the truth.5 For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between  God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus,  who offered himself as a ransom for all". (1 Tim.2.4).

Calvary spells love; Calvary love spells love everyone – the only possible healing of a vicious, fragmented, broken world such as we have today

Peter Clarke, O.P.

Friday, 2 March 2018


                                                THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE

Like so many pious Jews Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem to celebrate the most sacred festival – the Passover – the annual celebration of the liberation of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Jewish pilgrims would make their way in large numbers  towards Jerusalem, towards its Temple – the House of  the One True God – to their minds the most sacred, the most significant building on earth. 

Pilgrims saw themselves as reliving that awesome night when God carried out His threat to kill the first born male- human and livestock if Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go. Each family  had  either to bring its own lambs, pigeons  or cattle or purchase these at the Temple.   

 Expenses also included a Temple Tax and a fee for killing the offering.  The ‘unclean’ pagan coins used in day-to-day transactions were not acceptable in the Temple.  These had to be exchanged for ‘clean’ Jewish coins. In all these transactions the money dealer would deservedly take his ‘cut’ and then more.  There was so much swindling going on.

And this is what Jesus found when He burst upon the scene. He was unknown to the Jerusalem Temple crowd. According St. John’s Gospel the first time Jesus really caught anyone’s attention was at the Wedding Feast of Cana. 

And then He makes His presence known in the Temple. And there He was enraged at what going on in the House of  God. He did His utmost to put an end to it. “Making a whip out of cord He drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers’ coins and knocked their tables over,“ (Jn.2.15).

Jesus was obviously extremely angry – but He didn’t ‘go overboard! He was filled with righteous indignation. To His mind the most haloed place on earth for Jews, the Temple in Jerusalem, the House of God, was being desecrated. 

And what is more, this abrupt interruption had come when pious Jews were expressing their boundless gratitude to God, their great reverence for God. He had delivered their ancestors from bondage. He had fulfilled His promise to give them a land they could call their own.

Jesus justified Himself with sharp words, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a market place!” “MY FATHER’S HOUSE!”  To pious onlookers it would have seemed that Jesus was putting Himself on a par with Almighty God; and that He was behaving as one with the authority of the Son of God, as one with a stake in His Father’s property. 

To imply that the one true God had an offspring was blasphemy. To do so within the Temple, the very House of God, would have  made matters worse.

 It is remarkable that no-one there and then challenged Jesus for speaking in this way. Later in John’s Gospel we  read that the Jews were intent on killing Him, “because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He spoke of God as His own Father and so made Himself God’s equal,” (John 5.18).

In this reflection I’ve limited myself to considering the incident of the cleansing of the Temple. I have not touched on the second portion of the Sunday Gospel – Jesus prophesying His Resurrection.

From the anger of Jesus I come to the conclusion that there’s FAR TOO LITTLE RIGHTEOUS ANGER in the world today and FAR TOO MUCH UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER. What think you?  

After hearing of Jesus vigorously protesting at the lack of reverence being shown to the House of God I see the need for us to consider whether there be indifference, amounting to irreverence, in the way we present and conduct ourselves in the House of God, where 
Jesus, the Son of God is actually present in the Eucharist.

And finally, while the Jews challenged Jesus to show His credentials that authorized Him to throw His weight around in the Temple, I would suggest that we ponder on this person Jesus – who defended the sacredness of the Temple, who was crucified, who rose from the dead, the Son Man, the Son of God –the Paschal Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world.
God bless you.
Peter Clarke, O.P.