The Bishops Homily – 4th Sunday Of Lent 2018

4th Sunday Of Lent
Cycle B | 11/03/18
2 Chr. 36: 14-16; 19-23
Eph. 2: 4-10
Jn. 3: 14-21

 

INTRODUCTION: All readings for today are magnificent! They all treat of the Divine Love. “God is Love” is the great theme of the Bible. One of the mistakes we can make in Theology is to project on God our way of loving: fickle and vacillating. Human beings fall in and out of love but God is not like that. He is Love, and besides is eternal; that is He cannot change! The Hebrew call it “Hesed” or tender mercy. That is what God is — Hesed and nothing but Hesed! Does this not seem unbiblical? Isn’t God in the Bible described one time angry and at another time kind? Not quite!

(1) Chronicle 1 and 2 is a kind of sweeping history of God’s Mercy. 2 Chr. 36: 14 says “Likewise all the princes of Judah, the priests and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple which he had Consecrated in Jerusalem.” The people became sinful but God instead sent them prophets: “Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings and scoffed at his prophets u till the anger of the Lord against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy.” (v.16)

Love was offered but people refused God’s Love so an expression of his anger which is a modality of God’s Love by purification (v.16b-21) Now the restoration: “In the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of God spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his Kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, King of Persia, the Lord, the God of heaven. . . has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up and ma his God be with him!” (v. 22-23) The God of Israel can us a foreign power to do his work. Only a phase of his love can and does change but his love everlasting!

(2) John 3:16 “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.” God’s love is shown in the fullness of time again when he sends his Son in the Incarnation which is the enfleshment of God that finds its culmination in his self oblation in his death at Calvary.

“And 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.” (v.14-15)

(3) Ephesians 2: 4-10 “But God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved). . . God who is rich in mercy hesed gave us himself!

CONCLUSION: That is the good news: “God is Love” pure and simple!

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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