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Reflection: Laetare Sunday Mar 8, 2024

Fourth Sunday of Lent
4th Sunday Of Lent

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,

that everyone who believes in Him might not perish

but have eternal life”

 

These are perhaps the most quoted words of John’s Gospel, if not of the entire Bible. They are words that tell us that Jesus came, not to condemn the world but, out of love, to save all those who recognise and believe in Him.

These words were spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus, who was a well-respected Rabbi, a learned scholar and an expert teacher of Jewish law. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, a man devoted to prayer who adhered to scripture teachings and lived by them. Yet, in his encounters with Jesus, Nicodemus must have seen something that went beyond his human understanding. Impressed, or perhaps confused, by the miracles he had seen Jesus perform, and curious about this man, Nicodemus decided to visit Jesus in the dark of night. He wanted to know more but was perhaps uncertain of the reactions of his fellow Pharisees if they knew he was meeting Jesus. Jesus met Nicodemus where he was and tried to address questions from his context.

Leading up to speaking these words, Jesus explains that one cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven unless he is born again. This confused Nicodemus, but Jesus explained that to be born again means to be born from above, cleansed by water and filled with the Spirit.

The essence of what Jesus explained was that He, the Messiah had been sent, not to condemn the world but out of great love, to save the world.

Nicodemus never confessed his belief in Jesus at that time, nor did he give up his life and role to follow as a  disciple of Jesus. Later in John’s Gospel, however, we read that Nicodemus was present and participated at the burial of Jesus after His crucifixion. It was then that he made a commitment of faith and identified himself as a believer and follower of Jesus.

Unlike Nicodemus, we can look back to the Resurrection to recognise Jesus as the Christ, the one who came to save us. Perhaps the most important message we can take from this Gospel is that God sent His Son out of LOVE for us. Our God loves us, and He sent His Son not to condemn us, but to save us. Do we recognise God’s great love and gift of salvation for each of us and are we ready to share the love we receive with others in our lives.

This week, let us pray for the grace and gift of faith to recognise God’s great love and gift of salvation to us.

Deacon Michael Khoury

 

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