Sunday, March 11th
2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps 137:1-6;
Eph 2:4-10; Jn 3:14-21
…The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses
lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone
who believes may have eternal life in him.
Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave
his only son, so that everyone who believes in him
may not be lost but may have eternal life. Jn 3:14-17
This is the fourth Sunday of Lent and it has sometimes been called Laetare Sunday.
In Latin, Laetare means “rejoice.” We are half way through Lent and we can rejoice
in anticipation of the joy that is to be ours at Easter.
In the Gospel passage of this Sunday, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a teacher, came to
Jesus in the night with questions. Nicodemus believed Jesus was from God but needed
clarification. In John 3:16, Jesus explains to Nicodemus (and to all of us) that,
“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
This verse may be one of the most well-known, most widely-used Bible verses in
many Christian religions. It has been found on placards in football games, on the
faces of sports players as well as on prisoners who died in prison, and on some billboards
on Church lawns. Many Protestants have felt that John 3:16 was the heart
of the Gospel. In his letter on Evangelization, Pope Paul VI noted that that verse
was the central theme of the entire Bible.
The real clue here is God’s love for everyone- for you, for me, for the poor, the
homeless, the robber, the prisoner, the immigrant. His everlasting, unrelenting love
caused him to allow his only Son to come into this world to save all of us. God’s
merciful love means that every person has a God-given dignity which claims that we
are all equal and 2000 years later the world is still trying to figure this out. Jesus came
into the world to teach us, to forgive us, to love us, to die for us. This Good News
is the reason for our rejoicing during the season of Lent and throughout our lives.
Merciful God, we are undeserving of such a great gift of your unending love. Please help us to grow in gratitude.
In grace we have been saved, so may our daily ministry allow us to serve all with love.
Lenora Benda, CSJ