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Theology for the common man

4th Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The historical Book of Chronicles tells a history about an unfaithful chosen nation of God and its perspective about the plan of God toward it. The Book tells of the catastrophe of losing dependency of Israel and as a consequence its subordination to Chaldeans and Persians. The occupation of Persians however became beneficial for Israel because of the king Cyrus who showed a tolerance to Jewish culture and religion allowing Jewish people to rebuild its Temple. The Jewish people started to see in Cyrus, a foretold prophecy of Jeremiah, about a salvific intervention of God in the history of Israel. This historical view of the acting of God in the history of Israel had found its climax in a coming of Messiah on earth and his saving work. The Evangelist John explains that precisely with the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, which starts the real salvific intervention of God toward his people. Just as Moses in ancients times lifted up the serpent in the desert, whose sign brought to the bitten people rescue from physical death, so it will be with the Son of God, who will be hung upon the cross for spiritual salvation of all who believe in His salutary power. The true Cyrus, the foretold savior of the chosen nation, is Jesus Christ and his salutary cross, which gives a power of salvation to everyone who believes in him. This is a sign of the Mercy of God, which we are told in the second reading: “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”. John explains to us that the coming of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is a sign of God’s love. God doesn’t condemn the world but loves it. His martyrdom on the cross, like the coming of Cyrus, will be an announcement of a new deal to the people upon a condition of faith. In our response, we can test this love and use it when we have faith in Jesus, because of His Cross each of us receives the forgiveness of sins and in this way comes back to God. Of course, the faith in Jesus excludes a participation in the darkness of sin because each Christian is called to live in the light of God, to eternity. Otherwise the Christian denies a salutary truth and becomes a living liar. Let us participate in faith, living in the light of the new salutary announcement in Jesus Christ who brings us salvation.