Living in the light of God. Fourth Sunday of Lent (B)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent and Luis Herrera offers a brief video homily.

Joseph Evans-March 7, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

We humans are very good at blaming others. We can go through life thinking that it is always someone else's fault, God's fault too. He is not there when we need him. He does not answer our prayers. Many times we are not faithful to him and bad things happen to us, and we blame him for them, forgetting that bad actions necessarily have bad consequences. We sin and expect God to leave us unpunished.

Today's first reading gives us a good summary of the history of ancient Israel. We see their constant unfaithfulness. God kept sending prophets to call them to repentance and they kept ignoring them. In the end, God's patience ran out. But we might think that, if God is as loving as we are told he is, his patience should never run out. God's patience is truly infinite and he exercises it even by allowing us to suffer. It is not that God punishes when he loses patience. He exercises patience even in punishment, which is also part of his mercy.

God allowed the destruction of Israel's temple and the deportation of many, and it was a terrible moment in Israel's history. The suffering of his people in exile is expressed in today's psalm. But God also made sure that a remnant survived and, as the first reading explains, he also inspired a later ruler, the Persian king Cyrus, to allow the Jewish exiles to return and rebuild the temple. Israel deserved total destruction for its constant unfaithfulness. They simply received some hard knocks. God gave them another chance.

The Gospel ends with a call to be honest, at least with ourselves. We cannot expect a God who always gives us good things while we just ignore him, sinning in every possible way without even bothering to ask for forgiveness. That is what the Gospel means when it says that "the light came into the world, and men preferred darkness to light, because their deeds were evil". People don't want to accept their guilt because that might require a life change. They prefer to live in the dark. "For every one that worketh evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest he should be accused for his deeds". Let us be honest with ourselves and with God and thus "come to the light". Let us blame ourselves and not God. By blaming God we evade our responsibility and live a lie. By blaming ourselves and asking God for forgiveness - especially through the sacrament of Confession - we open ourselves to his mercy, without ever taking it for granted.

Homily on the readings for the fourth Sunday of Lent

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.

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