Sunday, March 7th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

As the Lenten season progresses, we arrive at the Third Sunday of Lent.  Masses this weekend challenges us to roll up our sleeves and persevere through Lent and commit to a more intentional and faithful life with Jesus Christ. This weekend, the readings at Mass with Catechumens and Candidates (at this time they are called the Elect) are different and instructional, assisting them on their journey to the Easter Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). This weekend they participate in the First Scrutiny ceremony at their Mass.

In the Gospel this Sunday from Cycle B, Jesus purified the temple area because it was misused as a marketplace. He became angry at the lack of reverence toward God. He spilt the coins of the money changers and overturned tables, saying, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

Jesus witnessed the way people mistreated the temple — the place to worship God and God alone. He drove out evil and worked to purify all that is sinful in that place. This is what Jesus wants to do for us this Lenten season. He wants to remove all impurity and evil in our lives and hearts so that we may have a proper dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Let us ask ourselves, what areas of our life need cleansing?

A few weeks ago, I participated in the completion of the step of the Second Scrutiny with the 1


Spanish Neocatechumenate Community. As catechumens prepare for baptisms, Neocatechumens prepare to renew their promises after baptism. The Neocatechumenate is a period of post-baptism formation that last several years. As part of completing this ceremonial step, the Neocatechumens renounce the idols and lures of this world that each Christian stumble over, including wealth, possessions, beauty, affection, and celebrity as some examples.

Let each of us name the areas (sins) that hinder our lives and that we stumble over, and invite Jesus to purify us. He became man to carry our burdens and wipe away our sins. He has given us boundless mercy, but we must do our part to seek it and commit to living a more faithful life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. With this knowledge, let us seek to be purified from our sins so that our hearts might be a true temple of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Joachim Parish encourages parishioners to complete the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) survey at the online link:

. I took the survey and found it to be a great reflection on the areas that I need to work on to improve my discipleship in Jesus Christ. The survey is available online from February 20


to March 22


. The results of the survey will be shared with the parish priests and staff so that we can assist each parishioner to be the best Catholic and disciple of Jesus Christ that we can be.

This season of Lent is only halfway done — there is still time to work through our shortcomings and purify our hearts in anticipation of Easter morning. But let us not waste another moment. Let us name our shortcomings, seek God’s mercy and forgiveness, and invite Him into our lives so he can transform our hearts.