2 Chronicles 35: 14-16, 19-23 – Ephesians 2: 4-10 – John 3: 14-21
During the Season of Lent this year, God’s communication to us through the Scriptures has focused our attention on the covenants or agreements made between God and mankind. We were told a few weeks ago about Noah and the rainbow as a sign of the covenant to begin creation anew. With Abraham, the covenant promise of God was of a people who would be the descendants of Abraham and who would occupy a land given to the. The covenant between God and Moses, sealed with the Commandments, established a people chosen to be in a particular relationship with God.
The meditation offered to us today suggests that we realize in all these instances, it is God who acts towards us. It is God who reaches out to us, calling us, urging us in this relationship. It is almost as if God pleads with us to respond to God’s generous and loving offer.
Saint Paul, for example, is quite blunt in his remarks. He reminds the Christians at Ephesus, and us, that it was God who first took the initiative. It was God’s favor, God’s grace, God’s love that gives life. It was God who sought to establish the covenants with Noah, Abraham and Moses. It is God’s actions that invites us now to enter into a relationship.
The account that we heard today from the Book of Chronicles emphasize the same idea of God acing on behalf o the Chosen People. Left to themselves, they had abandoned their relationship with God. By themselves, they could not restore this relationship. They had failed God and were suffering the consequences. But God again takes the initiative, doing it God’s way. The Israelites are restored. God’s purpose, Go’s plan, is accomplished through the actions of a pagan emperor. God’s people are restored through a way that God decides.
In the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, a similar understanding is found. God acts s because God so loves the world. Time and again God has reached out and has said “I want to be with you.” We are to choose life with God. We are to live in union with God. See now, ”we are told by God, the Beloved Son is “lifted up,” gives up his life in proof of that love.
God is also taking the imitative with us. God seeks to enter into our lives, to enter into the very fibre of our being. God’s life is shared with us the Christ, through the Church, through the Sacraments. As Jesus spoke with Nicodemus, so the Lord seeks to speak with each of us, telling us: “See what I have done, see my love for you, can you not love me in return?”
Hear the Lord speaking to us today: “I have loved you and given you life. I have loved you so much that my Beloved Son has come among you and died the excruciating death on the cross.” This is the totality of the effort God has made. So it is for us to respond with lives of faith and commitment to such a good and gracious God.