TO HAVE LIFE WITH HIM

March 14, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031421-YearB.cfm)

We are now on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Meaning, we are already half way through the Season of Lent, the preparation time for us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Christ once again.

Today, we are invited to review – to view again our past weeks of Lenten journey. We began the season of Lent during Ash Wednesday when we hear the first Good News Jesus preached, “Repent and believe in the gospel”, as we received the ashes and bore the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Then on the first Sunday of Lent, we reflected on the temptations of Jesus as real as our experience of occasions of sins in our lives – that human like us, Jesus also have struggled with temptations, as occasions of sin in our life. Again, calling us in the midst of our life-trials & difficulties to “Repent and Believe the Gospel.” Then on the second Sunday of Lent, we heard of the Transfiguration of Jesus, calling us to deeper faith and hope in Him, as even as the Father Himself proclaiming to us, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him”. And last Sunday the third Sunday of Lent, we came to know the confrontational Jesus who was angry, making trouble in the public and making enemies along the way in order to stand for what he believes, and to set things right before God & us, as God’s temple.  

All of these words, the call to repentance and belief, to be steadfast in the midst of temptations and occasions of sin, to listen to God’s beloved Son and to set things right & sacred before God, are demanding challenges for us. Based from our experience and perspectives, we might say those are nice challenging words to hear but difficult to heed and practice. Nice to hear and say but Difficult to do, for these words of God really challenge us to do something to change our lives.

However, our readings today are more on sober tune. It is a respite, a breathing space from demands and challenges of Lent. It invites us to see the demands and challenges of Lent from God’s perspective, and provides us the context for & the reason behind our need for conversion & upgrade of our faith in our life now.

We hear Jesus proclaims to us, “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.” This is to remind us of God’s deep love for us to the point of sacrificing His son, so that we might believe in Him. Meaning, God suffered a lot for our Faith at the price of His son. He wants us to heed and do those challenging words of believing again & anew in His Son, so that He could always love and forgive us again.

And above all, Why? He challenges us now & always because God wants to share His eternal life with us, His beloved children. God wants us to have Life with Him.  

As we begun Lent, we considered Judas & Peter, as to how and why the sin of Judas is more serious than Peter’s. We come to realize that Judas’ is more serious than Peter’s sin, because Judas did not give the Lord the chance to love and forgive him again & anew, instead he ended his life by killing himself.  Yes, Judas repented but he did not believe anymore. Peter on the other hand, yes, have hidden himself but stayed on until the Lord’s resurrection and got the chance to be forgiven and loved again & anew by the Lord. Peter repented & still believes in God despite what happened. In other words, Judas’ sin is more serious compared to Peter’s because Judas, by committing suicide, did not give the Lord the opportunity, the chance to forgive and love him again. Both may have repented but unlike Judas, Peter believes and remains to have faith in Jesus’ resurrection, in effect, made him experience life – eternal life with God. So also if & when we still believe despite of what happened to us, we could share in God eternal life through the Lord’s resurrection.

It was also once told a story that in God’s kingdom when everyone lives blissfully in the everlasting life, Peter finds Jesus standing near the heavenly gate. He goes near Jesus, and said, “Well, everyone is looking for you. How come you are here near the gate?” The Lord replied, “Actually, I’m waiting for someone. I hopefully waiting for my dear Judas to come back…. The Lord is thus still & always waiting for our coming home in repentance & faith.

Remember then that God loves us not because and after we are forgiven, but rather God forgives us because we are loved beforehand and eternally.

Lent is the time for us to come back home to Him and believe in Him anew. And like Father in the Prodigal Son, the Lord is always waiting for us so that He could always love and forgive us again. So, at this time, as we do our best to respond on the challenges of Lent, let us give God now through Jesus a chance to forgive and love as again and anew, so that we experience eternal life with Him.

May the fruits of our honest repentance, righteous attitude & deeper faith in the Lord be upon us, & so prepare us to experience & celebrate Easter, as our foretaste of eternal life with God.

So Help us God. So May it be. Amen.

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