Today’s second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians provides a valuable lens through which to view our Lenten discipline, our sufferings and those of Jesus Christ during his life and death on earth, and those experienced by his Body now – our brothers and sisters.
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
In today’s Gospel, when Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple, he is challenged, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” His answer “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” seems foolish as his challengers’ retort indicates: “This temple has been under construction for 46 years, and you will raise it up in 3 days?” The pivotal verse comes next: “But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”
When we are suffering, or looking at the immense suffering of our world, wondering why God allows it, we can cling to the fact that Jesus was no stranger to our experience, that he understood human nature well and in fact suffered appallingly and for our sake because he loves us. Because God loves us.
This is where our hope lies: in Jesus Christ, the son of God, fully human and like us in all things but sin. His crucifixion is a stumbling block and foolishness, but the suffering brought about by his obedience was the path to the glory of his resurrection and to ours. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.