(Third Sunday of Lent: Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; John 2:23-25)
Every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we say, Hallowed be thy name. This is raised as a concern by Our Lady of La Salette, in two distinct contexts. First she expresses her sadness at the abuse of her Son’s name. Later, she encourages the children to say at least an Our Father and a Hail Mary in their night and morning prayers.
This is also her way of reminding us of the Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
Interestingly, the notion of “hallow” occurs in the next commandment: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Our Lady reminds us of this commandment as well. ‘Hallow’ and ‘holy’ are what linguists call cognate words. Like ‘strengthen’ and ‘strong,’ one is a verb and the other an adjective to express the same idea.
In the Gospel, Jesus was angry that the Temple, his Father’s house, was being turned into a marketplace. The very place that contained the Holy of Holies was not being kept holy. The sellers of sacrificial animals had forgotten God’s word to Solomon: “I have consecrated this house which you have built and I set my name there forever; my eyes and my heart shall be there always” (1 Kings 9:3).
The reading from St. Paul is from the first chapter of First Corinthians. The letter opens with Paul addressing “the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.” Coming so early in the letter, it states the theme of much that is to follow. Later In the same letter he writes: “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.”
Without using those words, Mary surely has that same notion in mind when she speaks of “my people.” There can be no doubt that she means the people ransomed by her Son, called to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (1 Peter 2:9).
Jesus taught us to pray, “Hallowed be thy name.” This is a promise on our part to hallow it. In that same spirit of commitment we might add:
Hallowed be thy day;
Hallowed be thy house;
Hallowed be thy people.