Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent Year B Faith

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Homily: Fourth Sunday of Lent Year B

Reading 1: For the last three Sundays, the first reading has spoken of the covenant God made with Noah, with Abraham and with the Israelites in the desert through Moses. Today, the writer tells us that in spite of God’s providential care, the succeeding generations broke their covenant with God. Even the dire warnings of the prophets didn’t deter the people from living contrary to their sealed in blood-agreement with God.

Finally, as the prophets had warned, the enemies of the Chosen people conquered them, destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Then the people were taken into captivity.

In his mercy, he promised the people restoration through the prophet Jeremiah. Seventy years later, God moved a pagan king to restore the people to Judea, so that they can rebuild the Temple. God desired the salvation of his people, not their destruction. The purification of exile was necessary to call them back to fidelity to their covenant with God.

Are we any different? Will God treat us any different? We too are covenanted to God in baptism. We renew our covenant in the Eucharist every Sunday. But as a nation how are we acting towards God? Every attempt is being made to secularize our nation, to remove God from it, to segregate God to a private, personal, sentimental relationship. If God treated the people of the Old Testament harshly because of their sinfulness and the hardness of their hearts, will we expect to be treated differently?

Reading 2: In the second reading we heard part of the core message of the Gospel of salvation. When we were sinners and could do nothing but cry out to God for salvation, God, rich in mercy, redeemed us through Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection.

It was out of love that he gave his life to spare our life from eternal damnation. We did nothing to merit salvation.  It was pure gift from God.  As God was compassionate on the people in exile, so he has been compassionate to us who were alienated from him through sin.

As the people in the first reading were to respond to the action of God by rebuilding the Temple, so we are called to respond. How? By living in his life, repenting of our sins and following Jesus as Lord. If we do so, our salvation will be complete and we will live with God forever in the victory of his life.

Salvation is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is a response of the heart to live as one who is on the way to full salvation. We are God’s handiwork and we are to do good deeds in response.

Gospel: Some of the people of the Old Testament failed to believe and act on God’s word. They were chastised and purified through being exiled from the Promised Land for a period of time. Jesus came to save all from the consequences of sin.

 In the today’s Gospel he emphasizes several major points for our reflection. First, “The Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Second, “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 live.” Thirdly, whoever believes and acts in truth will live in the light of God’s life. Fourthly, whoever does not believe is condemned because their deeds are wicked.

This faith lived in action picks up one of the themes of the second reading.  Faith in Jesus is not just an intellectual assent and acknowledgment of Jesus. It is accepting him as Lord and Savior of our lives. It is reaching out to others and witnessing this reality of Jesus the Lord, inviting others into this mystery of salvation and life. Faith is to be lived and shared.

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