Lent: Sunday of the Third Week
 

“He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there.” (John 2:14)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Nevertheless, in order to seek the mystery of the deed in the figurative meaning, who are they who sell the oxen? Who are they who sell the sheep and doves? They are those who seek their own interests in the church rather than those of Jesus Christ. Those who have no desire for redemption have everything for sale. They do not want to be bought; they want to sell. Yet surely it is for their good that they be redeemed by the blood of Christ so that they may attain the peace of Christ. For what profit is there in acquiring anything temporal or transitory in this world — whether it be money, or gorging oneself on food or achieving high honors from your fellow human beings? Are not all things smoke and wind? Do not all things pass on in a moment? And woe to those who want to hang on to passing things, for they pass with them! My brothers, those who seek such things sell them. For Simon [Magus] too wanted to buy the Holy Spirit for that very reason — because he wanted to sell the Holy Spirit — and he thought that the apostles were the kind of merchants that the Lord drove out of the temple with a scourge. But he was the one who was actually such a merchant, wanting to buy what he might sell. He was of those who sell doves. For the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. Therefore, brothers, who are those who sell doves — who are they except those who say, “We give the Holy Spirit”? Why do they say this and at what price do they sell? At the price of their own honor. They receive for a time bishops’ seats as their price, that they may seem to sell doves. Let them beware of the scourge of ropes. The dove is not for sale; it is given gratis, for it is called grace.” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 10)



Collect
O God,
author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen