fourth Sunday of Lent
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
cf. Lk 6:45
Today, on this fourth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading we hear in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass tells the story of the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus. In it we hear what is, perhaps, the most famous verse in the New Testament. From John's third chapter of his Gospel we hear, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (Jn 3:16 RSV, CE).
As we enter the fourth week of Lent, today's readings are meant to remind us that salvation comes from Jesus Christ, who is the Incarnate Word - God Made Flesh. We are invited into the conversation with Nicodemus where Jesus tells that the Son of Man must be lifted up. For Nicodemus this is evocative of Moses lifting up the serpent in the desert for the Israelites. Let us continue our Lenten journey; let us open our hearts to Jesus. Let us lift up our hearts, for we "lift them up to the Lord." And let us give thanks, for it is "right and just" always and everywhere to give God thanks. We thank God for his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ; and we thank him that the instrument of torture lifted up the Son of Man, and became for us the instrument of our salvation. Thanks be to God! Be not afraid! Jesus is waiting for you when you find nothing else in this world satisfies you. For a Gospel reflection of Jesus instructing Nicodemus please enjoy below. Peace be with you!
LISTEN: God sent his Son so that the world might be saved through him.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
The Gospel of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel today includes one of the best-known passages of Scripture: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
In his passion to set right a disjointed universe, God broke open his own heart in love. The Father sent, not simply a representative, spokesman, or plenipotentiary, but his own Son into the dysfunction of the world so that he might gather that world into the bliss of the divine life. God’s center—the love between the Father and the Son—is now offered as our center; God’s heart breaks open so as to include even the worst and most hopeless among us.
In so many spiritual traditions, the emphasis is placed on the human quest for God, but this is reversed in Christianity. Christians do not believe that God is dumbly “out there,” like a mountain waiting to be climbed by various religious searchers. On the contrary, God, like the hound of heaven in Francis Thompson’s poem, comes relentlessly searching after us. Because of this questing and self-emptying divine love, we become friends of God, sharers in the communion of the Trinity.
Reflect: How is the Christian way of seeing different from the culture’s way of seeing?
Credit: Daily Lenten Gospel Reflections, Bishop Robert Barron, March 14, 2021; Word on Fire, https://www.wordonfire.org.
Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
SUNDAY SERMON: A VIDEO GOSPEL REFLECTION
Friends, today’s Gospel reveals the essence of Christianity. To believe in Christ means much more than to accept a set of propositions. Christianity involves entering into the space opened up by the death of the Son of God to receive his saving love. When you do this, you are born again; when you do this, you have eternal life.”
Bishop Robert Barron
Please watch the video by clicking here:
What Christianity Is All About - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
You can also find the Word on Fire Sunday Sermon video below, at the end of today's blog.
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
Saint John Chrysostom
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Saint Jerome (ca. 347 – 420 A.D.), Father and Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Word Incarnate, help me to know you.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.