4th Sunday of Lent – 2018

4LB18.   2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23.  Judah with its capital at Jerusalem was completely unfaithful in keeping the covenant with God.  “The anger of the Lord was so inflamed” that he allowed the Babylonians to destroy Judah and take those were still alive as slaves to Babylon.  After seventy years Cyrus, king of Persia came to rule Babylonia and , inspired by the Lord, freed the captives and sent them back to rebuild the kingdom of Judah and, with it, Jerusalem and its temple.  In a sense God made the pagan King Cyrus the savior of his Chosen People.

John 3:14-21.  In Numbers 21:6-9, God punished his People by sending serpents to bit and kill some because they complained against him. Instructed by the Lord, Moses “made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole (which symbol we see on ambulances today), and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered. Jesus recalls that sign of healing to say that anyone who looks upon him on the cross and believes in him will be saved because by his dying on the cross he saved us all.   One of the most magnificence lines of Scripture appear in today’s Gospel: “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.”  We choose our own eternal verdict in choosing to believe or not to believe.  Jesus is the light that takes away the darkness that the enticements of this world envelope us in.  He shines on the truth that only he is, because he is the light.  The darkness of our own desire to believe that whatever we want or pleases us is truth or reality will condemn us.  Death is darkness; life is light.

Ephesians 2:4-10.  Jesus taught us to call God our Father because is pure love for us.  His mercy or love for us in having his Son offer up himself as a sacrifice to bring us back to life by overcoming the death brought about by our transgressions will “raise us up with” God and seat us with the Father “in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  It is by the work of God the Father in his Jesus that the saints have come to the eternal joy of heaven. By our life of faith in Christ we are accepting the eternal salvation that God has given us.  “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus” “that we should live” through the good works of his suffering and death seated with Jesus in the heavens forever.  God makes saints; we, by cooperating with work of the Holy Spirit, become saints.