4th Sunday of Lent - Year B
During these first three weeks of Lent, various aspects of our covenant relationship with God have been presented along with the privileges and responsibilities that flow from that relationship. Today we focus our attention on the other party to the covenant: God. What we encounter is astounding, far beyond our imagining, and much greater than we would have any right to expect or even to hope for.
For what we learn is that despite our infidelities as individuals or as God’s people as a whole, God remains faithful to us; despite our self-destructive tendencies, God continues to offer us more chances at a better, more fulfilling life. However, and this is a significant however, God does not force anything upon us. We are free to choose. We can accept God’s loving gestures in humble recognition of the gift they are, or we can proudly and even disdainfully refuse them. This is pointed out into today’s readings very clearly. Before the Israelites could return to their homeland after the exile, they first had to return to God. In the Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that people can choose to believe or not believe in Christ, but often prefer darkness to the light. There has always been a choice. Today the choice is ours to make.
Very few people explicitly choose against God, life and light. But, can we honestly absolve ourselves of actions that are remarkably like those spoken of in the 1st reading? Haven’t we, elected officials, religious leaders, business men and women, parents and even children, in a word everyone, “added infidelity to infidelity?” Scandals abound, injustices perpetrated, power and position are misused to take advantage of someone, corners are cut, bullying continues to thrive, relationships are strained by self-seeking when the emphasis is on personal benefit versus the good of others or the common good. And, those who warn or condemn us of this are ignored, scoffed at, or silenced.
Despite all this, this weekend is about God’s gracious gift of mercy toward us. Listen again to the words of today’s Gospel: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may 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.” Wow! That should put the rest the image of God keeping tabs on us, waiting for us to sin to punish us.
Our partner in the covenant relationship BEGS us to turn to him and be saved. How will our Church, governments, and societies answer? How will you and I answer, not just in words and good intentions but in the way we live?
 2Chronicles 36:14
 John 3:16-17