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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 4th (B) of Lent

Gospel text (Jn 3,14-21): Jesus said to Nicodemus: «As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.

»This is how the Judgment is made: Light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For whoever does wrong hates the light and doesn't come to the light for fear that his deeds will be shown as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God».

«God so loved the world that he gave his only Son»

Fr. Joan Ant. MATEO i García (Tremp, Lleida, Spain)

Today, the liturgy offers us an advanced flagrance of true Pascal joy. The ornaments of the Celebrant are pink. It is "laetare" Sunday inviting us to a serene joy. «Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her...», says the antiphon of the introit sung today.

God wants us to be happy. The most elementary psychology tells us that a person who does not enjoy life ends up sick, both in body and spirit. However, our joy must be well founded; it must be the expression of serenity given by a full meaningful life. Otherwise, it would degenerate into superficiality and silliness. St. Teresa, most accurately, distinguished between "holy joy" and a "foolish joy". The latter is only external; it lasts very little and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Our life of faith is going through difficult times. But they are also thrilling times. To a certain extent, we may experience the Babylon exile sung by the psalm. Yes, we can also live an exile experience «mourning and weeping when we remembered Zion…» (Ps 137:1). Our external problems and, most of all, our sins, may take us by the rivers of Babylon. However, there still is room for hope and God keeps telling us: «May my tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you…» (Ps 137:6).

We can always rejoice for God loves us so much that He «gave us his only Son» (Jn 3:16). Soon enough we shall join this only Son in his walk to death and resurrection. We shall contemplate the love of He who loves us so much as to die for us, for you and me. And we shall fill our heart with love and "will look upon him whom they have pierced" (cf. Jn 19:37), and, inside us, there will grow such a great joy that nobody will be able to remove it from us.

The true joy that enlightens our life does not come from our own effort. St. Paul reminds us that: thanks may be given by many on our behalf for the gift granted us (Col 1:11). Let God loves us and let us love Him, and our joy will be greater next Easter and all our life, too. And let us not forget to let God come closer to be regenerated by Him through a good confession before Easter.

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