for Sunday, March 15, 2015
Mercy on mercy on mercy! This is Lent! Lent is not about making life
difficult for myself so that I can earn God's love. Neither is Lent about
being better than anyone else or even thinking that I have a better
spirituality. Lent is supposed to be, for us, a sincere, honest and strong
seeking of the Lord and knowing God's mercy.
The Second Book of Chronicles gives us a summary of what happened in Israel
and Judea. The leaders and the people did not listen to the Lord and were
no longer interested in seeking the ways of God. We should never look on
this as some simple explanation of history. Instead, it is our own
history. We, all of us, get attracted to the goods of the present world.
It does not matter what it is that attracts, but whatever attraction it is,
it can take us away from God unless we are clear that God is always first.
For most of us, even now, God is not always first. Instead, we want to
make Him first but often choose other values. It is not as though we can
choose God just as if we could choose a nice pet. God is chosen by us in
the midst of choosing other things—and often we do not even consider His
presence when we are making choices—and thus God is not first.
This was surely part of the story of the Second Book of Chronicles. The
leaders and the people often were not actively choosing against God.
Instead, they were not choosing in and for God. And we do the same.
The Letter to the Ephesians and the Gospel of John today show to us a God
who is always with us and always seeking us. The Letter to the Ephesians
is so strong in stating that God loved us and loves us even when we were or
are in death because of our sins. Nothing is strong enough to destroy this
love that God has for us. Even serious sin never destroys Gods love for
us. What serious sin does in damage our capacity to respond to that love.
The Gospel of John reminds us that God has sent Jesus not to condemn the
world but the save it. We can put that even more personally: God is never
interested in condemning me but always interested in saving me.
Lent is a time for us to realize profoundly this love that God has for us.
Lent is a time to open our hearts and realize that God is seeking us. Not
matter how often we turn away from God or choose values or actions other
than God, God is always there loving us and inviting us to share His love.
If we realized the immensity of this love right now, we would surely die
because of love. Yet we are almost frightened to believe that God can love
us so much, especially when we realize how small our own love is.
Let us keep walking through this Lent, asking God to open our hearts,
hoping that we might in some way realize the immensity of God's love and
begin to respond to it more faithfully every day! Let us walk in the
Readings of the day:
First Reading: 2 Chronicles 36.14-17a, 19-23++
Second Reading: Ephesians 2.4-10
Gospel: John 3.14-21
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: