March 14: Fourth Sunday of Lent. Readings: 1. 2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23; Psalm: 137 or 23; 2. Ephesians 2:4-10; Gospel: John 3:14-21.
In today’s readings, it is God who takes centre-stage. Nothing, therefore, in the history of the human race is to be seen apart from God.
The extract from 2 Chronicles revisits a traumatic moment in Israel’s life. It recalls the need for God to do something dramatic about Israel’s infidelity and its rejection of the prophets he had sent. The destruction of Jerusalem, the death of many, and the removal of a remnant to a foreign land, all adds up to the creation of the only way forward, a new beginning for Israel. So, a time came when the return to Jerusalem proved to be possible. God’s compassion ultimately ensured that the faithful remnant would eventually show the world a wholly renewed Israel.
Ephesians relates yet another account of God’s grace and kindness at work, some time later in the divine plan. That comes about in the person of Christ Jesus, who reveals to the world his extraordinary work of salvation. What Jesus, therefore, won for all, is defined by a great act of love, a sign that God spared no effort in order to achieve his goal. So, as we contemplate our place in this community of faith, we are being urged to ready ourselves spiritually for the annual feast that commemorates the great gift that is Jesus himself.
The Gospel verses from John are a further reminder of our blessed calling to give witness to the Good News concerning Jesus Christ. This passage speaks very plainly. In brief, the essence of John’s text calls us to ponder and appreciate the deep message of the faith we profess. For we must make time to meditate on what, and in whom, we believe.
These readings are, therefore, chosen to inspire us in these precious days of Lent.