Homily 3rd Sunday of Lent Year B - Ten commandments and good intentions

 Homily (Sermon) - Ten commandments and good intentions

Revised and updated version of the homily I gave in 2015.

The Readings for Sunday 3rd March 2024 or Third Sunday of Lent Year B:
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 18
Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

Did you know that the Ten Commandments can be found in the Jewish Torah, the Muslim Quran and the Christian Bible. Over half of the worlds population believe that the Ten Commandments are divine instructions for us, helping us to lead good lives that move us closer to God.

God gave us these rules to help us, to guide us, to bring us step by step closer to Him.

The rules are simple, and on the face of it seem easy to keep. But they are also easy to bend, easy to forget once in a while, easy to ignore for the greater good, easy to lose sight of when filled with good intentions. Like in today’s gospel. The money changes and market stall owners started out doing something good. Money used in the temple was holy, so was only used in the temple. They offered a service to change your money to temple money. The animal sacrifices needed to be bought, so people sold them close to the temple. Over time the profit became more important than sacred. Good intentions forgotten; ten commandments ignored. 

You and I are like the money changers. I doubt there is one person here today, that could honestly say they have always kept the Ten Commandments. That’s sad, and wonderful!  Because we are not able to keep the ten commandments, Jesus comes to help us, to intercede for us, He sacrifices Himself for us, He dies in our place and gives us back to God.  We know Jesus, because we don’t keep Gods Law.

This however doesn’t mean we can just ignore the commandments. No, each time we break them we are driving a nail into the wrists and ankles of Christ. We are adding to the pain and suffering Christ goes through for us.

So let’s take a look at Gods Ten Commandments:

1. You shall have no other gods: This seems easy in today’s world where we are not temped by Bale or Molech. But how often is our faith diluted and diverted by money, power, lust or greed. Maybe today's tempting faiths are shopping centres, advertising, credit cards, chocolate, alcohol and pornography. Ask yourself what you put your faith and hope in most of the time.

2. Don’t use my name as a swear word: The most common and acceptable swear word in my office is also the name of my God. Jesus Christ should be shouted out in joy and worship not when you hit your thumb with a hammer or when someone pulls out in front of you at a junction. How often do you use God’s name to swear instead of to worship?

3. Sunday is a Holy Day: What comes first on Sundays, work, sport, shopping or God? You need time to rest, a day a week to stop. A day to spend time with God. How do you choose to make Sunday special?

4. Love your mum and dad: As a child or adult it’s often easy to get upset with our parents. We should do as they say when we are young and look after them as they grow old. What was the last wonderful thing you did for your parents? The church also teaches that this commandment includes respecting all in authority police, politicians and bishops. How do you respect authority? 

5. Don’t kill: This means respect life. Use your life well and help others live their lives well. Don’t allow people to be hurt by thing you do or don’t do. There is so much we don’t do, there are so many people dying or hurting in this world. Could you do one more thing that would help some live better?

6. Don’t sleep around: The church’s teaching and society’s norms are quite different here. God tells us to love one person, marry them and be faithful to them. Have you found that one person? Are you being faithful to them? Even if you haven’t met them yet, are you being faithful to them?

7. Don’t steal: We don’t like it when strong or clever people take what is ours. We shouldn’t take what belongs to others. Do you buy fair trade? Do you use the office photocopier or take the odd pen and pad of paper home from work? Do you copy music? Do you use someone else Netflix account? Think what you may have taken and how you could give it back.

8. Don’t lie or mislead: Telling little white lies, being economical with the truth and deliberately misleading others is so easy to do. We are told to respect truth, how can you become more truthful?

9. Don’t lust after people: Do you look at others as sexual objects or God children? Expanding on the 6th commandment God tells us that just thinking about sleeping around is bad. What books do you read, what TV and films do you watch? What do you look up on the internet?

10. Don’t get jealous of what others have: Your neighbour may have the best car, TV, watch, house or donkey you have ever seen. Be pleased for them, don’t envy them. Modern advertising teaches us to want many things, but how easy do you find it to enjoy what you already have?

So this lent why don’t we take a look through the commandments, think about our lives and what we can do better.  Then this Easter, as we celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us, make a change in our lives worthy of that sacrifice, worthy if the gift Christ died to give to us.

Homily Index

Suicide Prevention

A few weeks ago Gail and I went along to a Saturday morning course about suicide prevention. We didn’t really know what to expect, but suicide is something we have both bumped into in our lives, and we wanted to know a little more than we did.

The course was taught by ‘Every Life Matters’ - https://www.every-life-matters.org.uk/  They are a Cumbrian charity promoting Suicide Safer Communities and providing Suicide Bereavement Support across Cumbria.

While taking the greatest of care with us, as some of the attendees had much more personal experience of suicide than we did, they talked about suicide and how we could become the equivalent of first aiders for people thinking about ending their lives. We were not being trained to be social workers or psychiatrists, but just caring people who could talk about suicide and direct someone to help. For me this concept of first aid really helped me understand what I could do to help.

Many people in their lives will think about suicide, it doesn’t mean they will ever attempt it, but it does mean that they probably have some things in their lives that are hard and difficult to deal with. Just asking someone if they are ok, and then maybe asking again when they say they are fine, could be the step to a real conversation about how they are really feeling.

I would recommend anyone to attend an ‘Every Life Matters’ course if you get the chance. Their course are advertised on their website and take place across Cumbria. Or just ask us after Mass one Sunday, both Gail and I will be happy to talk about the session we attended.

Every Life Matters

God Bless,

Deacon John

COVID19 Soup Run


Just thought I'd let you read (below) what John, Pat & Maree had to say about the Soup Run last night.

One thing is clear: your behind-the-scenes efforts have real effects.

Thank you all.

From John:

As we pulled up tonight we received a round of applause and cheers. Difficult to give out food when you are almost in tears. 
We have seen 50 people at pip. Very busy. Everyone was really helpful. They waited until we dropped bags on the floor and stepped back. 
No one has heard anything about hotels. Everything is shut and they were very hungry.

Just finished at redcliff. We had enough food for only nine people so were really worried we would not have had enough. We found nine people wait. Prayer answered. 
Everyone again really grateful. Happy to take good bags one at a time. 
It was heart breaking out there tonight. Everyone so grateful. So cooperative. These people shouldn’t still be on the streets. I hope the hotel promise works through quickly. 
So Saturday numbers. 
Pip 51
Redcliff 9
60 total

From Pat & Maree:

It was certainly a different run last night, unlike no other.
You will probably hear from John that we gave out 60 bags of food.
We had to divide some bags with 2 rolls down to one roll each to make it go further. You could relate it to the 5 loaves and 2 fishes!
We gave out most of the bags at Pip 'n Jays within 15 minutes and people were all really courteous and did exactly what we asked them in terms of the hand over and waiting with good distance between each other and us.
We left Pip 'n Jays by 9.30 as we didn't have much left. We went to Redcliffe to assess numbers and literally gave out the remainder really quickly and left within just a few minutes.
Your dear friend Lin was just arriving as we left and John stopped to give her something, but we fear it was only a few biscuits. We are pretty sure there would have been some disappointed and hungry people arriving later, but we had nothing left even though Gaby and Gail and helpers had made up more than was previously given out in the week.
The interesting thing is that besides some of the people we know to be genuinely on the streets, there were a number of faces we haven't seen before. A reasonable number of young people (some on bikes) and we wondered if they have simply run out of money. Anyway, we thought we would pass this information on to you to share with others on the soup run.

Camino de Santiago (2019)

Here are the collection of posts I wrote while walking the Camino de Santiago in 2019.

The posts are in reverse order as thats the way Google Blogger works. Read backwards or start at the bottom :-)

Here the route we took.