Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 15, 2015 - Fourth Sunday Of Lent

Lectionary: 32

Reading 1 2 CHR 36:14-16, 19-23

In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people
added infidelity to infidelity,
practicing all the abominations of the nations
and polluting the LORD’s temple
which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
During this time, the people of God had become unfaithful and turned away from God.
Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers,
send his messengers to them,
for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.
Frequently, out of compassion, God sent prophets to speak to His people.
But they mocked the messengers of God,
despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets,
until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed
that there was no remedy.
But they treated His Prophets with disdain and disrespect.  And God became very angry with His people.
Their enemies burnt the house of God,
tore down the walls of Jerusalem,
set all its palaces afire,
and destroyed all its precious objects.
So, God permitted their enemies to overwhelm them.
Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon,
where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons
until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.
And those who weren't killed, were enslaved and carried off to Babylon to serve foreign kings.
All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah:
“Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths,
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
while seventy years are fulfilled.”
This happened in order to fulfill God's prophecy which was spoken through Jeremiah, that the people of God would be enslaved for 70 years.

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
both by word of mouth and in writing:
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,
and he has also charged me to build him a house
in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people,
let him go up, and may his God be with him!”
And God did something extraordinary.  Never was it heard that a pagan spoke in God's name.  This pagan King, Cyrus, was inspired by God to announce to the people of God that he was going to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple of God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (6ab) Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

Lord, let me die but do not let me turn from you.
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.
As a consequence of their sins, the Jews were carried far from Jerusalem.  And there, they remembered the home which God had given to them.

R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

For there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
And their slave holders coaxed them to sing happy songs of Jerusalem.

R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!
But they couldn't sing happy songs of Jerusalem, because they missed their homeland.

R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.
They couldn't be happy until they returned to their home.

R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

They could not be happy, until they returned to God's favor.

Reading 2 EPH 2:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
St. Paul addresses the Ephesians as brothers and sisters in Christ.
God, who is rich in mercy,
God is compassionate
because of the great love he had for us,
and loves us dearly
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
He even loved us when we were dead in our sins
brought us to life with Christ
 Therefore, He forgave our sins in Baptism and gave us new life in Christ.
 — by grace you have been saved —,
It is in Baptism that we receive His grace
raised us up with him,
And He has brought us to His Home, in Zion, where we dwell with the Angels and Saints (See Hebrews 12:22).
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
Where we dwell with Christ and in Christ as members of His Body.
that in the ages to come
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
God the Father has done this, in order that He might love us through the love He has for His only begotten Son.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
We have been saved by grace because we are saved in Baptism.  And we are saved through faith, because He pours out His grace upon us in Baptism in accordance with the measure of our faith.
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
And this is a gift of God to all who submit to Him in faith.
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
We can't do it.  We can't save ourselves.  Baptism is God's work through which He justifies us by the bath of the Holy Spirit, working in us His wonders.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.
And thus, we are born again in Christ, in order that we might to the works of God.  For it is He who works in us and through us to accomplish His good pleasure.

Verse Before The Gospel JN 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
God so loved us, that He gave His only begotten Son, to die that we might live.

Gospel JN 3:14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
In the desert, the people of God had become ungrateful.  This angered God and He sent some seraphim, fiery serpents, to bite the ungrateful people.  But Moses prayed for them and God instructed him to make a bronze serpent and raise it up on a pole, in order that those who looked upon it, would be saved.
This is the serpent which was lifted up in the desert as a "foreshadowing" of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.   
For 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.
God loves us so much, that He sacrificed His Son, in order that we might live with Him forever.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Through Jesus Christ, God saves the world.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
Those who do not believe in Christ, condemn themselves.
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Because, by rejecting Christ, one rejects God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
Christ is the light of the world.  But those who work evil, prefer darkness.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
But those who work righteousness, live in the light and their works are seen by God.

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