St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

4th Sunday of Lent B21

As in Advent, so in Lent we celebrate a Sunday of Rejoicing.  In Advent the Entrance Antiphon told us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!”[1]  Today’s Entrance Antiphon has three verbs that serve to invite us to rejoice, be joyful, exult, and be satisfied.[2]

But, the 1st reading from the Second Book of Chronicles starts off by relating the fact that the leadership class of the government (princes) and of religion (priests) and everyone else (the people) “added infidelity to Infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple”.[3]

However, despite the Chosen People’s rejection, God makes a counteroffer of mercy, compassion and love. God doesn’t give up on them. The Persian King Cyrus who, after defeating the Chaldeans, is inspired by God to let the people go[4] and to build God a house in Jerusalem! A foreigner ruler became God’s servant and gave religious freedom to whoever belonged to any part of God’s people to go to their homeland.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes a statement that Nicodemus must have found startling: “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.”[5]  

How about that!? As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, God, rich in mercy because of the great love he has for us, brought us to life with Christ in his kindness to us. By grace we have been saved through faith. This is not from us; it is the gift of God; it is not from our works so no one may boast about how much we’ve done for God.[6] It’s not a reward for what we’ve done but a response on our part to an almost unbelievable gift!

That’s in what we rejoice, are joyful, exult, are satisfied! And, above all else, we should be grateful!!!

 

[1] Philippians 4:4-5

[2] Cf. Is. 66:10-11

[3] 2Chronicles 36:14

[4] Reminiscent of Moses command to Pharoah

[5] John 3:16-17

[6] Cf. Ephesians 2:4-9

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