Fourth Sunday in Lent

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2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21


Have you ever been at or watched an event on TV when someone held up a sign with 3:16 on it? This refers to a famous verse from the Gospel of John that we hear proclaimed at our Sunday liturgy. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Why did Jesus become incarnate and dwell among us? Because of love! God loved our world so much that God chose to save us for eternal life.

We know the stories from the Old Testament that tell of God’s great love for the Israelites. His love was so great that he made a covenant with them. He would be their God and they would be his people. Again, the motive was love, but over time the Israelites failed to respond. The last verses of the book of Chronicles retell their defeat by the Chaldeans, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple and their exile in Babylon for seventy years. When the Chaldeans were overcome by the Persians, the new King Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and to begin to rebuild the temple. Was seventy years enough time to reflect on what went wrong among their community and their relationship with God? Did they realize the failure on their part to not respond to God’s love and promises as a covenant people?

There are times when we to fail to respond to God’s love. We prefer to live in a sort of darkness rather than the light where all our words and actions are visible. We choose to avoid our responsibility to fully live as committed Christians who have a relationship with our loving God. We choose the easy way rather than the loving way. John tells us that condemnation comes with darkness and salvation comes with the light. Which do we choose?

The reading from Ephesians should give us hope as Paul tells us, “But God is rich in mercy; because of his great love for us he brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved. ….I repeat, it is owing to his favor that salvation is yours through faith. This is not your own doing, it is God’s gift.” Because of God’s great love for us, this is God’s great gift to us!

When and how have you failed to live in the light, choosing the easy way instead of the loving way?

In what ways have you tried to deepen your relationship with God and be faithful to your calling as a committed Christian?

How faithful have you been to your Lenten resolutions?

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