March 11: Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B

First Reading
2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23
The causes for the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon are described.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 137:1-2,3,4-5,6
A lament from exile for the loss of Jerusalem.

Second Reading
Ephesians 2:4-10
In grace we have been saved, so that we may do the work of the Lord.

Gospel Reading
John 3:14-21
Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Son of Man will be raised up so that those who believe in him will have eternal life.

The fourth Sunday of Lent is sometimes called Laetare Sunday. Laetare is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” Traditionally, Sundays are named after the first word of the liturgy’s opening antiphon.
On this Sunday, the antiphon is taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 66:10-11).
Even as we observe our Lenten sacrifices, we rejoice in anticipation of the joy that will be ours at Easter.

Today’s Gospel reading is taken from John’s Gospel. It consists of two parts. The first part is the final sentence of Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus, the Pharisee who approached Jesus at night. Nicodemus acknowledged Jesus as someone who had come from God and seemed to want to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus greeted Nicodemus with the observation that one must be born from above to see the Kingdom of God. The dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus that followed was about the meaning of this phrase. Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus at every point, but there was no animosity in the questions he posed to Jesus.



In the part of the conversation with Nicodemus in today’s Gospel, Jesus referred to an incident reported in the Old Testament. When the Israelites grumbled against the Lord during their sojourn in the desert, God sent venomous serpents to punish them for their complaints.
The Israelites repented and asked Moses to pray for them. The Lord heard Moses’ prayer and instructed him to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. All who had been bitten by a serpent and then looked upon the bronze serpent were cured.
By recalling this story, Jesus alludes to the salvation that would be accomplished through his death and Resurrection.

The second part of today’s Gospel is a theological reflection on Jesus’ words to Nicodemus.
The Gospel of John is known for this kind of reflection offered within the narrative.
The words of the Evangelist are in continuity with the words of the prologue to John’s Gospel.
In these reflections, John elaborates on a number of themes that are found in his Gospel: light and darkness, belief and unbelief, good and evil, salvation and condemnation.


In John’s reflection, we find an observation about human sinfulness. Jesus is the light that has come into the world, but people preferred the darkness. We wish to keep our sins hidden, even from God. Jesus has come into the world to reveal our sins so that they may be forgiven. This is the Good News; it is the reason for our rejoicing in this season of Lent and throughout our lives.


Family Connection

Parents whose children are afraid of the dark are struck by John’s observation that darkness is preferred to light. Perhaps this is as it should be. God made us to live in the light of his love. But this original friendship with God was corrupted by sin. Our sin causes us to shy away from Christ, the light that has come into the world. During the season of Lent, we try to fight this tendency by remembering God’s great mercy and the salvation that we have received through Jesus. We do not fear confessing our sins, knowing that God forgives us, and so, during Lent, we seek out opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

After your family gathers, sit for a time in darkness, then light a candle. Invite people to talk about what it felt like to be in the darkness and to compare that to their feelings when the candle was lit. What are we able to see by the limited glow of the candlelight that we couldn’t see when we were sitting in darkness? Read today’s Gospel, John 3:14-21. John’s Gospel teaches us that Jesus was the light that came into the world. In this light we know ourselves to be sinners, but we are not condemned. Instead we have been saved because we have been forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Conclude in prayer together, thanking God for the great gift of forgiveness we have received through Jesus. Pray together the Act of Contrition.














The Journey of Jesus of Nazareth Lent reaches its climax during Holy Week, itseif a journey within a journey. The pace of be continued


March 25: Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Tom Shanahan, S.J. Liturgically, Palm Sunday ushers in the dramatic events of Holy Week. As Jesus triumphantly enters be continued


March 28: HOLY THURSDAY – Evening Mass of the Lord'
This reflection is coming soon. Until then, here is a reflection written by Larry Gillick, S.J., in 2000. It is the "Passover of be continued


March 30: GOOD FRIDAY of the Lord's Passion
Candice Tucci, O.S.F. Pieta Detail Today we read, hear and pray the Passion of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. This day, we be continued


Alexander, S.J. On Holy Saturday, there is no liturgy at all. The liturgy this evening is the vigil - the preparation for and entry be continued


March 18: Fifth Sunday of Lent 
Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan
Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to be continued


March 18: Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of John. We be continued


March 11: Fourth Sunday of Lent 
Andy Alexander, S.J.
Today is Laetare Sunday, so named because the Introit or be continued


March 11: Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
The fourth Sunday of Lent is sometimes called Laetare Sunday be continued



PROPOSALS FOR MEDITATION - We want to offer spiritual texts, which can be of help to nourish our faith and strengthen our life in Christ: they are an opportunity to compare our experience with that of Christian witnesses 'old' and contemporary.

Contemplating the Gospels- Andy Otto
God’s Vulnerability ... - Cara Callbeck

The Lamb that was slain has delivered us from death ...- Melito of Sardis
The perfection of love - Saint Augustine
The power of Christ's blood St. John Chrysostom
Way of the Cross - Pope Francis
“Do not be afraid!” - Pope Francis
We keep the coming feast of the Lord through deeds ...- Saint Athanasius
Christ offered himself for us - St. Fulgentius of Ruspe
"Interview between Jesus and Nicodemus"- Daniella Zsupan-Jerome
Christ is the way to the loght, the truth and the life ... - Saint Augustine





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