Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (B) (11th March, 2018) on the Gospel
Ps 136:1-6. (R. v.6);
One lady after obtaining Teachers’ Grade Two Certificate (TC II) was given an opportunity to teach in a private school. But in her file was every other document except her Senior School Certificate. The proprietor noticed that and called her attention to that. She immediately apologized and promised to file it. Although she could leave her file in the school since it was only that certificate that stood between her and the job yet she went with her file. And immediately she left the office, she told her friend her that that was the end of her search for job in that school. Her friend was startled. She went on and told her that she would never submit her Senior School Certificate to anybody in her life. According to her, the certificate was very bad that she would not present it to anybody even at gun point.
Topic: Although God loves us.
Jesus said in the gospel, “...just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14-15). Again, “...when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (Jn 12:32).
Today’s gospel was part of the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus made reference to what happened when the people of Israel was on their way to the Promised Land, cf. Jn 3:14. When they were bitten by poisonous serpents which brought the death of many in Israel, they cried to God through Moses. God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and set it on the pole so that whoever is bitten by the poisonous serpents who looked on it shall live, cf. Num 21:4-9. It is important to note that although God gave the people of Israel a means of healing, it was each and everyone’s responsibility to look upon the bronze serpent if one who was bitten by the poisonous serpent wished to live.
As we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of that period we recall the lifting up of the Son of Man as He foretold popularly known as Lent, it is important to remind ourselves of few things that I consider necessary. Jesus came to save us from the punishment due to our sins. However, those who will benefit from Christ’s lifting up (passion and death) are only those who believe in him, cf. Jn 3:15-16. The gospel reads:
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God (Jn 3:17-18).
Believing in Jesus implies believing with one’s whole heart what Jesus told us about God which includes that God cares for all of us and is always willing to forgive, cf. Lk 15: 1-7; 8-10; 11-32; Matt 18:10-14. Again, one must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, cf. Jn 8:28. And lastly, one must stake everything on the fact that what Jesus says is true. (William Barclay: 2006. The daily study bible: The gospel of John, vol. 1, chap. 1-7, pp. 135-6).
Just as the Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land, we are also on our way to the Promised Land, cf. Phil 3:20. But ours is far better than what was promised to them. Again, just as the Israelites sinned against God and their leader, Moses in various ways while on their way to the Promised Land, so often do we find ourselves going against God and our fellow pilgrims. God has given us means of coming back to him and live just as he gave to them. When the people of Israel found out that they sinned against God and Moses they ran back to God through Moses. What do you do when you find yourself in the same situation – running back to God through the Moses of today or prefer to die like the girl in our introductory story? If you are a Catholic, have you been to confession or as non-Catholic used the medium in your church for reconciliation lately? Remember the judgement,
...that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed (Jn 3:19-20).
We conclude by saying that no serpent is more poisonous than sin. ALTHOUGH GOD LOVES US so much but we must play our own part by using the means he has given to us. It is true that Jesus has died for our sins but we must be very careful lest we die in our sins.
Bible Readings: Num 21:4-9; Zech 1:3-4; Jn 12:27-36; Jas 4:1-10; Lk 15: 1-32.
Thought for today: Do you live like one Jesus has died for his/her sins?
Let us pray: Lord, being aware of the many times we went away from your will, we ask for your mercy and pardon and the grace to live as we should – Amen.
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