Saturday, March 25, 2006
4th Sunday of Lent
March 26, 2006
4th Sunday of Lent - B
2 CHRONICLES 36:14-16, 19-23
In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people
added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the
nations and polluting the LORD's temple which he had consecrated in
Jerusalem. Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, send
his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his
dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his
warnings, and scoffed at his prophets, until the anger of the LORD
against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy. Their
enemies burnt the house of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, set
all its palaces afire, and destroyed all its precious objects. Those
who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon, where they
became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons until the
kingdom of the Persians came to power. All this was to fulfill the word
of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah: "Until the land has retrieved its lost
sabbaths, during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest while
seventy years are fulfilled." In the first year of Cyrus, king of
Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation
throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: "Thus
says Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the
God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him
a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you
belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be
Brothers and sisters: God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great
love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ--by grace you have been saved--, raised
us up with him, and seated us with him 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. For by grace you have been
saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in
advance, that we should live in them.
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.
In the Book of Exodus, when Moses was leading the Israelites from the
land of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land in Palestine, the people
lost faith in his leadership and criticized both Moses and God.
In order to discipline them, God sent an invasion of poisonous
serpents, and many died from the bite of those snakes. The people then
repented and asked Moses to intercede for them with God, which Moses
did. God immediately responded with forgiveness. He told Moses to make
a bronze serpent and to set it on a pole, so that the people could
easily see it. And from then, on all who were bitten by a snake and
looked with faith at the bronze serpent were saved.
In today's Gospel Jesus parallels this Exodus event to his own
crucifixion on Calvary. He explains that whoever looks upon him with
faith will be healed spiritually just as the Israelites were healed,
when they looked upon the bronze serpent.
How does the Exodus event relate to us? The message for us is quite
simple. All of us are victims of sin. From the time of Adam and Eve in
the Garden of Eden gave in to the temptation of the Satanic Snake,
mankind has been poisoned by pride, greed, lust, envy, laziness,
gluttony, hatred, violence, corruption, and all forms of sin. In all of
us, the poison of sin is present and undermines our spiritual life.
Our only hope is to go to Jesus, our brother and healer. On the cross
he offered himself up on our behalf and obtained for us a new life of
intimacy with God and our fellowmen. But we must receive that new life
from him. He is forever the only source of salvation. If we look up to
him with trust, he will heal us by the Holy Spirit of love, whom he has
the power to give to all men. The Spirit of God, who is the very life
of the Father and the Son, is the all-effective remedy, which can
gradually free us from pride, greed, lust, envy, and the rest.
St. John reminds us most emphatically of something we always tend to
forget: that God is not a judge! On the contrary, God is a Savior. He
is essentially a savior. Consequently, when he sent his Son into the
world, it was for one purpose and one only - to save us. For indeed,
left to ourselves we can only perish far from him. By giving us his
Son, he provides us with the only means for healing us of our
destructive tendencies towards hatred, greed, ambition, exploitation,
backbiting, and jealousy.
John follows the reference to Jesus' crucifixion with these words in
verse 16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so
that everyone who believes in him may not die, but may have eternal
life." And verse 17 reads: "For God did not send his Son into the world
to be its judge, but to be its Savior."
These two verses have been called a summary of the Bible.
God respects our freedom. He wants to save us. That is his deepest
desire, but He cannot save us if we do not want to be saved. Of us God
asks only one thing: to accept the gift of his Son.
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Bernardita Galero.
- for the speedy recovery and healing of Dionisio Galero.
- for the personal intentions of Mian Atencio.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Filbert Aaron G. Tiu
- In Memoriam (+): Consuelo Cunanan (Mar 24, 1914 - Jan 8, 1981)
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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