The Father’s House – Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent

In Heaven in Stone and Glass, Bishop Robert Barron takes readers on a spiritual pilgrimage through the world’s great Gothic cathedrals. He tells the stories of these beautiful buildings constructed not just of stone but of spirit. These centuries-old structures are celebrations of faith and hope in colour and light.


Bishop Barron includes this:

There is a wonderful description of the construction of Chartres Cathedral that has come down to us from the twelfth century. It says that people from all walks of life and social strata — lords, ladies, soldiers, and common workers — came together in the gruelling task of transporting stones, wine, grain, and oil to the work site. They laboured side by side and in reverential silence — and all forgave their enemies. What we see here is a hint of the new city made possible by the authority of the Risen Christ at work in his Church. When we visit a Gothic cathedral and move into the magnificent light of the place, it is the true God that we are meant to praise and this new world that we are compelled to imagine.

Today’s Gospel challenges us to consider the purpose of the church we and those who came before us, have created here: Is our church truly “the Father’s house” where the poor find compassion, the broken find healing, the grieving find support — or are we too concerned about worshiping our own safe, undemanding image of God, about maintaining our privileged social and economic status, about keeping a comfortable distance from those we don’t want anything to do with?

Every church community, if it is to be faithful to the vision of Christ, is constantly being built and rebuilt on a foundation of forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple challenges us to take a look at our own parish with Lenten eyes: to realize that Christ has called this church, our church, to be a place where his compassion, healing, justice and peace are revealed to all who come through these doors.