Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent-2021

Written on: March 3, 2021

Readings for the Third Sunday in Lent- March 7

1st Reading- Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
2nd Reading- 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Gospel- John 2:13-25

Written by Sister Rita Margraff, GNSH

“I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, you shall not have other gods before me.”

This is the beginning of the Ten Commandments which God spoke to Moses for all the people. It is the first reading from the Book of Exodus for the third Sunday of Lent. I think I first learned of or heard the Ten Commandments when I was a child in grade school. I was probably puzzled to have a new word added to my vocabulary: covet. As an adult, when I encounter the Commandments, I am most struck by this first one: I am the Lord, your God, you shall not have other gods before me. If that is our entire focus, everything else falls into place. That God is central to my life is the most important thing.

There is a song written by John Foley, SJ, one of the St. Louis Jesuits, now famous for providing so much of our liturgical music. It is entitled, Turn To Me. The refrain goes like this:

“Turn to me, O turn, and be saved, says the Lord, for I am God, there is no other, none beside me, I call your name.”

Isn’t this what God says to Moses in the Commandments? There is no other – I, God, am the first and the only. It is I that must take first place in your heart. Only then would it be possible for you to keep all of the other laws that I enjoin on you.

In the Gospel for today, we see an angry Jesus. We are not used to seeing Jesus this way. It is more comforting to think of Jesus as the healer, the Good Shepherd. Why is Jesus angry? Because the people have put “things” ahead of God. They have made the Temple a place to “buy and sell” rather than a place to worship God – which is all that God asks of us.

Lent is a perfect time for doing – though we sometimes put the emphasis on giving up. It is the perfect time to turn to God again and to pray for the grace to make God the one and only center in your life. Then you will hear God say, as in the first stanza of the song Turn to Me,

“I am God who comforts you, who are you to be afraid…”

For printable copy, click here>>

Featured image Siwa, Egypt. Courtesy of Karim Elmalhy/Unsplash

10 thoughts on “Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent-2021

  1. Joan McElwain says:

    Thanks Rita for the inspiring words

  2. Margaret M.Barnhart says:

    Thanks so much, Rita, for your inspirational words. Keeping God first in our lives is a challenge, especially in our world of “things.”
    Putting God first really does help to clear the clutter in our lives.
    And your words remind me of part of a prayer meditation from Canterbury Cathedral:
    God be in my head, and in my understanding;
    God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
    God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
    God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
    God be at my end, and at my departing.

  3. Mary Mulligan says:

    To love God and my neighbor is the core of my vocation. It’s not how i think, or feel or believe but how I live my life. Thank you for the reminder. sr. mary mulligan

  4. Michael McClure says:

    Rita, I remember when I was in grade school and learning the 10 Commandments. I didn’t know what “covet” meant either. For some reason I thought I should ask my father not my mom. He tried but I was as befuddled as before.

  5. Michael McClure says:

    Thank you Sr. Rita. You made it simple for all of us to understand.

  6. Donna Lord says:


    Thanks for the inspiring words. Yes, if God is truly the center of our lives, nothing can bring us down.


  7. Kathleen Devlin says:

    Sr. Rita,

    It is a great reminder that there is only ONE GOD to turn to!

    Thank you

  8. Joan Elias, GNSH says:

    Thank you for the inspirational and challenging reflection. You have given me a great deal upon which to reflect.

  9. Eileen Spanier, GNSH says:

    Thanks, Rita. Reminds me that God calls me to be in “right relationship”, first and foremost with Him and others…but also with myself!
    It is God who “calls my name”!

  10. Sr.cathy Bleiler says:

    Rita, This was a beautiful reflection. Thank You, Cathy

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