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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

Third Sunday of Lent 2024

Terry Aldrich, proprietor of The Backstage Pub on Smith Street, is behind the project to renovate 417 Union St. in Schenectady — a multi-story home built in 1897 located in the Union Street Historic District.

The season of Lent is a time for reflection, penance, and transformation. It is a time to examine our lives and make changes for the better. 

He plans to invest $400,000 to restore and convert a late 19th-century historic building into apartments. 

This building, constructed in 1897 has seen better days. But Terry sees beyond its current state, envisioning a future where this structure contributes to the vitality and beauty of the neighborhood.

Project plans call for converting the building into three market-rate apartment units, with new flooring, plumbing and electrical systems, along with updated kitchens and bathrooms

“We got to fix this building,” he said.

This story resonates deeply with our Lenten journey. Just as Terry is transforming a neglected building into a place of new beginnings and opportunities, Lent calls us to undertake a spiritual renovation. 

We are invited to examine the structures of our lives, to identify what is worn and broken, and to initiate the necessary repairs to bring us closer to God.

In today's Gospel, we witness Jesus cleansing the Temple, a powerful act of purification and renewal. He challenges us to cleanse our own temples—our hearts and souls—of whatever defiles them.

The Temple in Jerusalem was a place where people came to worship God. It was a symbol of God's presence in the world. But over time, the Temple had become corrupt. It was no longer a place of worship, but a place of commerce and greed. Jesus saw the need for renewal, and he cleansed the Temple, driving out the moneychangers and the sellers of animals.

In the same way, our hearts and souls need to be cleansed. We need to rid ourselves of the sin and selfishness that defile us. We need to make our hearts a place where God can dwell.

This Lent, let us embrace the task of spiritual renovation with zeal. Let's clear away the clutter of sin and distraction, repairing the damage wrought by neglect and indifference.

Like the project in Schenectady, this spiritual renewal requires investment—of time, effort, and prayer—but the result is a heart more fully aligned with God's will, a personal temple where His love resides.

We’ve got to rend and men our hearts!

What parts of our spiritual foundation need reinforcement?

Where can we remove the debris of sin to make room for grace?

This Lent, let's commit to a renovation of the heart, transforming our lives into beacons of God's love and mercy.

Let us invest in the spiritual renewal of our hearts. May this Lent be a time of profound transformation, leading us to Easter with hearts mended, strengthened, and full of God's renewing grace.


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