Fourth Sunday of Lent 13 March 2021

Looking in the mirror early in the morning (it sometimes does not seem to improve later in the day), it is hard to appreciate that “We are God’s work of art”. This wonderful expression, attributed to St Paul, must have been consoling to him later in life as he sometimes remembered how he persecuted the new ‘way’ called into being by the same Jesus he met on the road to Damascus. Paul was not always the fiery proclaimer of the Good News; he was a little like Nicodemus…and perhaps like us. Full acceptance of the Good News rarely is found in one of us overnight.

Prior to our Gospel excerpt read today, the earlier verses show Jesus in action, poking and prodding Nicodemus, pushing his curiosity to seek further truths; demanding, in a sense, that Nicodemus does his homework.

What do you really, really think about Jesus?

Come on. Let’s have a real and truthful conversation, no holding back. 

Jesus eventually sends him on his way with a few more solid truths to consider 

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world.”

And for good measure, a few thoughts about light and darkness!

Light and darkness… 

In our pandemic driven world with huge debates around vaccines, let alone racism, gender equality and evil behaviour, this darkness needs an infusion of light.

The confronting image of the nun kneeling in prayer before the heavily equipped troops armed for war against their own people, is surely a moment of light in the midst of darkness in that seemingly hopeless situation in Myanmar! 

John’s Gospel, written a long time after the event, reveals a confident and confronting Jesus happily causing a degree of conflict, not only with the religious leaders but also with the ordinary people…

Who are you? 

Who do you say I am?

And slowly it was said by Peter and down the years, countless millions have affirmed that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

It took a lot of prodding and poking to get Peter freely to utter those words.

It is now our turn.

Mons Frank