Community Word: Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Order: “…love me and keep my commandments.” (Ex 20:6b)
Saint Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body,” (1Cor 6:19). This statement of Saint Paul summarizes our community word for the month: Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The theme for the 3rd week of Lent is: As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we obey God’s commandment. We obey His command in response to the favor He has already given us – His gracious mercy and salvation. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (Jn 13:15, Jesus said and added, “Whoever keeps my commandments is the one who loves me. If he loves me, he will also be loved by my Father; I too shall love him and show myself clearly to him,” (Jn 14:15, 21). And our Lord God also assured us in His promise that “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul … giving wisdom to the simple.” (Ps 19:8a).
Our theme for the 4th week of Lent is: As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we believe in Jesus and live in His truth and with an appended promise, “Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned,” (Jn 3:18a). As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe in One True God, in three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our Creator, Savior and Sustainer of all things. The truth of salvation is only in Jesus Christ, as He is the embodiment of Truth (Jn14:6) – the truth about who we are, about God’s purpose why we are on earth, the truth about sin, righteousness, the coming judgment, heaven and hell, how to love God and how to love one another, and all others we need for life and godliness. Our own cleansing/renewal is an on-going process that our Lord performs in us, but we need to cooperate with the process, and be responsible enough to use the means available to us through His word, teachings and the truth.
As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we follow Jesus and serve Him in His people, is the theme for the 5th Sunday of Lent. Our personal desire to follow Jesus may be our emotional link with Him, created by the gift of grace and salvation, like the early disciples of Jesus. They experienced a greater level of deliverance from sin than they had ever experienced before. Grace changed their lives that made them ready and willing to make Jesus the center of their lives, following Him wherever He went and trusting Him completely. The call of Jesus to serve Him in His people is exemplified in the scriptural passage from the gospel of Matthew: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” (Mt 25:40). Jesus is pointing us to those who are the weakest, the most gravely ill, the incapacitated, the hungry, the homeless, the most sinful and all those who have pronounced needs in the earthly life. By serving those in special need, we are serving Jesus. Our call to service is our eminent choice to God’s love for us. In those we serve, we see, know and feel the Lord, and our opportunities to love are ever present and our love grows deeper in serving Him through His people. The Lord’s promise to us is: “…whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life,” (Jn 12:25b).
The last Sunday of the month is Palm Sunday which celebrates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and marks the start of the Holy Week, the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The theme of this week is: As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we allow the Lord to sanctify us through suffering. The perfect model of humility and obedience in the face of suffering is Jesus Christ. From beginning to end, the details of His life were humiliating: He was born amidst the stench of a stable; His disciples came from the low-life of a reviled province, not cultured nor learned; His worth is the price of a slave – 30 pieces of silver; and He was punished, crucified and stripped completely naked and put on display for all to see, adding shame to the pain. Jesus willingly lowered Himself and freely laid down His life. Because of these, “God greatly exalted Him!” (Phil 2:8).
In our own sufferings and tribulations, we learn to rejoice because we believe that these sufferings and tribulations produce endurance (greater perseverance in dealing with increased challenges), endurance produces character (becomes progressively more stable to focus effectively on the things of the Lord), and character produces hope (unleashes hope in suffering and joyful expectation of what the Lord promised). Therefore, we neither suffer in vain or alone; Jesus Christ suffers with us and redeems the suffering in us. And He promised “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced … I shall not be put to shame,” (Isa 50:7).
Merciful God, as I receive your mercies every day especially this Lenten season, I pray that You instill in me the fear and love of Your blessed commandments so I may lead a spiritual life pleasing to You and in accord to Your divine way and Holy Will. I seek to obey You in all that I think and do. Help me prepare for the glory of Your Heavenly Kingdom, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.