4th Sunday of Lent Year B
1Chron. 36:14-23; Eph. 2:4-10; Jn. 3:14-21
St Peter Chysologus asked his hearers: “Why do you have so low an opinion of yourself, when you are so precious to God? Why do you so dishonour your self when you are so honoured by God?”
The scriptures reflect this truth. The Lord views each one of us as precious, honoured, valued, esteemed and with worth. How do we know? We see the unstopping initiatives of God to save His people, the lost and scattered sheep; the ever flowing mercy; the many rescue plans; the restored dignity; and the renewed and grace-filled lives and works. That’s where lies our real worth and value – IN GOD ALONE.
But like the decadent kings and Israel, we have or are taking divergent paths too. Jeremiah saw infidelities, shameful practices, defilement of the Temple, ridiculing of the messengers had crept into the religion and nation. Paul was familiar with a people who had forgotten the God of grace, mercy and Jesus. Like them, we are becoming dead people, placing our worth on what we own and what we done. John saw unbelievers, with preference for evil deeds, darkness and fear of exposure. Like them, we fear the light. We distrust God. We miss seeing our true worth.
Today we appear to have traded in our true worth for the superficial and temporary. Many of us are beggars of cheap love and recognition, and end up with no interior peace nor self confidence nor emotional maturity. We seek to be the most beautiful, most successful and the most influential. That world. That dream collapses and we become exiles where we are, “seeing ten thousand people maybe more, people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing songs that voices never share – it is the sound of silence”. No God, no friends, no self.
But in the midst of ‘fakes and deceptions’, true sense of self esteem, worth and value is found IN GOD ALONE.
- God never forgets His own. Messengers after messengers, plans after plans, initiatives after initiatives, from desolations to deliverance, and from being dead to sin to being alive to grace, His Love saves,
- God never stops loving, being merciful and compassionate (suffering with His people). His love endures forever.
- God views us as His “work of art”, created and re-created in Jesus Christ to live the original intent of God.
When we are in exile, without what we had or lost the familiar or discover the lies we lived, we appreciate the gift or gifts of God. We see our true worth, our true value that We are God’s WORK OF ART.
The glory of God is man fully alive (St Irenaeus).