Sunday, March 15, 2015, is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The readings will be: 2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10 and John 3:14-21.
In this Sunday's Gospel reading, we hear part of a conversation that Jesus is having “by night” with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Jewish leader, a Pharisee. Most Pharisees considered Jesus a problem because he challenged their faith and practice, but Nicodemus had observed Jesus, sensed the presence of God, and came to talk with Jesus under cover of darkness. Through his “discourse,” or “teaching conversation,” with Nicodemus, Jesus challenges all of us to recognize what God is like and what God is doing through his Son, Jesus.
Our God is a God of love. God’s intention is not to condemn human beings. In fact, in an ultimate act of love, and in order to show us the way to the eternal life that God desires for us, God sent his Son into the world. That Son, Jesus, will be lifted up – both lifted high on the cross of sacrifice and crucifixion, and raised and exalted through his resurrection. Those who recognize and follow Jesus will be led out of darkness to new life. Those who reject Jesus will remain in darkness, condemning themselves, because they reject the path to Light and Life.
In baptism, we were born again and received the light of Christ; we began a journey with Jesus. Lent is a time to renew our commitment to the grace of our baptism and to make the changes that will help us follow Christ’s light more effectively. Thomas Merton, a convert to Catholicism, monk and great spiritual writer said “there is an instinct in us for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power…to be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.”
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