Friday, March 16, 2012

Homily 4th Sunday of Lent Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo@Shst Commnunity Mass

Homily 4th Sunday of Lent Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo@Shst
 Readings: Readings
: 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps 137:1-6; Eph 2:4-10 and John 3:14-21

The Nature of God and the joy He brings!

God is light, God is love.  God judges, yet He is forgiving and merciful. He liberates us from all kinds of exiles and finally brings us joy! Four weeks ago, how time flies, on Ash Wednesday, we gathered in this chapel and in our various worshiping communities to mark the Beginning of Lent, which represent for us that special moment of prayers, that favorable time for acts of charity, spiritual renewal, fasting, mourning, preaching and listening very closely to the Word of God, especially as we celebrate the sacraments.

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent which we traditionally called Laetare Sunday, the Bible lessons are coated with liberating messages of joy.  Recall, that entrance antiphon, that prophecy of Isaiah 66:10-11 which we began this Mass with. We are invited to:

“Rejoice (rinna) with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
All you who love here Exult, rejoice with her, all you who were mourning over her
…suck fully of the milk of her comfort.”

Some of us who visits our Dehon Seminary Library, you find this or similar inscription on the wall of the last corridor before you gets to the Library.  On the opposite wall, Prophet Zephaniah joins Isaiah and says,

“Rejoice the Lord has cancelled your judgment and misfortunes. The Lord your God is with you. He is a Mighty Savior. He rejoices over you with gladness. He will rejoice over you with a happy Song. He will renew you with His Love and Restores your Fortunes” (Zeph 3:14-20).

The next logical question would be why this joy?  We can say, Joy because of whom God is, the Light of the world, because of how he forgives, because of how he loves, because of how he intervenes in our lives.

This is well chronicled in the First Reading of today, 2 Chronicles chapter 36. Yes Israel had sinned which let them into the darkness and judgment of exile. But because of who God is He has liberated the poor, repentant remnant of Israel. Sin –Exile- Restoration!

St. Paul
confirms this in the Second Reading when he says,

“Brothers and Sisters, God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had love us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life in Christ- by grace you have been saved…”

The mixture of God’s Grace with His love since creation; He so much loved us, the world that God became man and flesh Carum factum est (John 1:14), in Christ (John 3:14-21), the Light of the world, in order to save us from the darkness of sins- Sins of selfishness, disobedience, and sometimes the darkness of lack of sensitivity or charity for our next door neighbor---.
As we look forward to the remaining week of Lent which ushers us into the Passion Week, let us allow ourselves to be forgiven. Don't be sad; Don't be beaten down by  the penitential tone of Lenten practices, but allow the joy of Christ to continuously register on your cheeks! And we want to continue to appreciate the joy of liberation Jesus has brought us.

Let us go out there to our families, classrooms, meeting places, communities, work places, and be disposed to share this smile, this joy of forgiveness and liberation from exile of sins with our neighbors.