“FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH” (Eph 2:8)
????2 Chron 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6 (R.v.6ab); Eph 2:4-10; John 3:14-21
Today, being the Fourth Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the Second Scrutiny in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for the candidates who are preparing for Baptism at Easter Vigil. We pray to the Lord for them, that they may imbibe a true spirit of repentance and understanding of sin and for freedom from the powers of the evil one. Amen.
The readings of today remind us of God’s faithfulness to his promises and the need for us to respond positively to that faithfulness. Through his faithfulness, we have come to enjoy the salvation which he promised to man after the fall. To be partakers in that salvation, we must be people of faith.
The entire Gospel of John serves the purpose of ushering us into this faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and “by believing [we] may have life in his name” (John 20:31). There is a strong connection between his victory upon the cross and the faith that we talk about. That is why it was only after his resurrection that his disciples understood and believed in his teachings (cf. John 2:22).
It is therefore not out of place that, as we draw closer to the height of the Lenten Season when we shall celebrate the passion of Christ in a unique way, the Church calls on us to reflect on that connection between the faithfulness of God and our faith in him.
The portion of the Gospel of John, which we take today, begins with Jesus reference to the kind of death that awaits him. When he is lifted up in the same way that Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the desert (cf. Num 21:8-9), he shall draw all men to himself (John 12:32) and heal their wound of separation from God in the same way the bronze serpent was a medium of healing to the dying Israelites.
However, remember that it was only those who looked at the bronze serpent that lived. In the same way, it is only those who look up to Jesus with the eyes of faith that would be saved. Notice that in that small portion with only 7 verses (John 3:14-21), the word, believe is used about 5 times, indicating its important place in the history of salvation.
By extension, faith has a correlation with righteousness. It was through faith that God reckoned Abraham as being just (cf. Gen 15:6; Rom 4: 3, 9). So, being people of faith would help us to open up a channel that would heal the infidelity that is bemoaned in the First Reading. The grace of God would be there to help us as St. Paul said in the Second Reading for those who believe.
May God help us to respond positively to this call to faith, and may our faith not fail us in the end. Amen.
Have a grace-filled and faithful Sunday. Peace be with you.