FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
One friend of mine asked me whether I know the great difference between Satan and Jesus. He went on tellingme a story that one day both Satan and Jesus were busy typing their assignments on computer; and all of a sudden there was a black out and consequently their computers went off. After a few minutes the light came back and they began to pick up again their work. But then Satan started grumbling and being upset, while Jesus stayed calm with a smile on his face. My friend ended his story by asking, “Do you know why Jesus remained cool with a smile?” I guess, I replied to him, Jesus is able to control himself, his emotions. “No, he added, the only reason was that Jesus saves”
JESUS SAVES… It sounds so primitive but this is all about our faith; it is the fundamental doctrine of our faith. Reading and reflecting on all the readings of this fourth Sunday of Lent, we can draw the red line with this sentence Jesus truly saves. Jesus, in answering Nicodemus, reveals his identity and the fate that awaits him, the mission received from the Father and his outcome among men. Indeed part of this Sunday’s Gospel is another classic confession of Christian experience of divine liberation in Jesus. “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”. Jesus saves and it is manifested as being the Light of the world.
Interesting to notice that the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus took place in night time. Nicodemus, identified as leader of the Jews, presumably a member of the Sanhedrin, looked for Jesus in the dark. This event signifies that people in darkness have come to Jesus the true and Eternal light. The man who live by the truth comes out into the light. Lent is an opportunity for us to allow the same Light, the Light of Christ to penetrate our lives, to enlighten our dark place within ourselves. The three Lenten observances: Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving are the ways to make Christ’s light shines much more brightly in our lives.
Yes, Jesus Saves. Jesus really came to suffer, but his ideal is not the cross, but obedience, that is, the way of living the relationship with his father and of witnessing it until the end of his life. The only ideal of Jesus is obedience, which does not end because of his death on the cross. It is true that the raising of Jesus on the cross is a curse and represents the maximum point of humiliation; however the same cross also constitutes the summit of his glory, since the saving love of God is revealed in all its splendour through it.
We may be sure that our sacraments, our rituals, our prayer and our hope mean little if Christ has not saved us, if Jesus has not given us the promise of abundant life, if he has not, indeed, suffered and died for us. For this reason, we are “God’s work of art”, says St. Paul, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it. And our human life is a journey back to the house of the Father, accomplished not individually but as a people, as humanity: the fate of our brothers cannot be indifferent to us. The Church - every Christian - feels then that she must always live more in Christ in order to give life to those who lie in darkness and in the shadow of death.