Friday, March 13, 2009

MNBS, 4th Sunday of Lent-Yr B

Remember what I wrote when I started this little project over a month ago; that I may not blog all of the MNBSs, or that Alie and I would not be doing it every week. So, here we are, in Lent. I know that not all of the half dozen or so people who read Wheezes is Catholic, so here is the quick version. Lent is a season in the Church's year, consisting of approximately forty days prior to Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday, this year that was on 25 February. It is the Church's big season of penance and preparation. What are we preparing for? We are preparing to celebrate and commorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is celebrated publicly on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter, in 2009, this will be from 9 through 12 April. What are we doing penance for? Penance is an action that shows how a person wishes to be reconciled to God. Penance is not a person trying to earn favor or salvation from God. It is his effort to become closer to God.

We are halfway through this season. The Gospel for the week:
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.

This is John 3:14-21. Most of us recognize verse 16; not just what the place kickers aim for after a touchdown. It is essentially the mission statement of Christianity. Why did Christ come into the world? To save it from its sinfulness. Alie said that one of her thoughts for Lent is along these lines: Why did Christ come and suffer? If it was for me, then I should respond by living the best way possible, to work and love as best as I can. If my response to Christ's love is nothing, then what does it matter that he suffered and died for me? My response, too, is that Christ's life, death, and resurrection do not depend on my response to their historical fact. This is not Bishop Berekely asking "Does a tree makes a noise falling if there is no one in the forest to hear it fall?". For myself, knowledge of these events in salvation history cry out for a response to live out a life of love and service. As Christians, our response is to live in the truth, and act. Catholics are called to live out Lent with increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In Christ, we have our model.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

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