Fourth Sunday of Lent
Today is the fourth Sunday of our Lenten preparation. The first reading is a bleak reminder of our sinfulness, our deafness to those who warn us, and the consequences of our continuing arrogance and destructiveness. The psalm tells us what it is like to be separated from the love of God. We weep and we remember. Ephesians offers us hope. God is merciful even though our sins have destroyed our lives. God saves us, not because of who we are but because of who God is. God’s love raises us up from our sinful despair. John reminds us that although we deserve condemnation because of our repeated sinfulness, God so loved the world that God did what Abraham was asked to do. God sacrificed Jesus, the beloved Son, that we might be saved.
EARLY AND OFTEN
We are not an easy people to love. As Chronicles reminds us, we prefer sinfulness over goodness time and time again. Infidelity, abomination, pollution, mocking prophets—we do it all. And still God loves us. The psalm offers a beautiful image of the price we pay for living in the darkness of sin and evil when we know the beauty of living in the light. Alone, isolated, still we remember the beauty of life with God and we weep. God is rich in mercy. Time and time again God brings us back to life. Jesus’ life was sacrificed to save ours. We are saved not by our works but by the gift of God. What more powerful words are there than those found in John: “For God so loved the world the he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
COME TO THE LIGHT
If our works cannot save us, then why are we doing all this hard work and sacrifice during Lent? Traditionally we were asked to give up something during Lent so that we might experience the loss and deprivation that the Old Testament talks about when we are estranged from God. More recently we have been asked to do something affirmative, to add something good to our lives instead of taking something bad away. Either way works because both are just means of waking us up to the way we live our lives, sometimes thoughtlessly indulgent, sometimes indifferent, but all too often isolated from what is at the center of God’s life, i.e., love and sacrifice. Lent is a chance to live our lives as Jesus lived his. Jesus lived in the light of love, truth, and sacrifice. Lent is a chance to find that light in our own lives.
Today’s Readings: 2 Chr 36:14–16, 19–23; Ps 137:1–2, 3, 4–5, 6; Eph 2:4–10; Jn 3:14–21
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