Saturday, March 10, 2018

4th Sunday of Lent, Year B, 11.03.2018

2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23 / Ephesians 2:4-10 / John 3:14-21
The means of communication have come a long way, with developments and advancements in communication technology.

From the primitive smoke signals and sound signals, things have developed rapidly with the discovery of electricity. There was the Morse code, and then the telegram (a present messaging app has the same name), and letters in the mail have been overtaken by email.

But a wonderful invention is the telephone, where it is real-time voice communication. Even that has developed from the fixed line phone to cordless phone and then to the mobile phone, with not only voice communication but with video calls, i.e. with sight and sound. Communication has become so amazing with technology.

But with the advancement of mobile communication technology, the sense of intrusion has also become greater.

When the phone rings, it may ring at the most inconvenient time, e.g. at a meeting, when you are cooking, or eating with both hand, or bathing. And it might be from people that you would hesitate to answer, because with caller ID, you now know who is calling and you just don’t feel like answering the call.

There are a few fears when you have a mobile phone. For example, when you get 10 missed calls from your mother, or 5 missed calls from the boss, or 5 missed calls from the wife. The only way to quell the anxiety is to return the call. Either that or you fake a phone loss. But you can’t do that more than twice.

The 1st reading gives an account of numerous unanswered calls. But it was not any ordinary call. It was God calling out to His people.

The people had committed infidelity after infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the other nations, and defiling the Temple that the Lord had consecrated for Himself in Jerusalem.

The Lord tirelessly sent messenger after messenger, since He wished to spare His people and His House. But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised His words, they laughed at His prophets, until at last the wrath of the Lord rose so high against His people that there was no further remedy.

And with that, it was disaster and tragedy. The enemies burned down the Temple of God, and went on to demolish and destroy the city, and the survivors were exiled to a foreign country.

It was a national disaster as well as a personal tragedy. All because of unanswered calls. If only the people had answered the calls from God.

Ironically, where it was the people of God who rejected God’s call, it was a pagan ruler who showed them how to respond to God’s call.
The people’s rejection of God’s call led to their destruction. Now God is calling them, through a pagan instrument, and calling them back to restoration. How they would respond is their call, so to speak.

The lesson that we must learn from the 1st reading is that God’s call is to repentance and conversion. And it is always a call of love because God wants to spare His people and His House.

The 2nd reading reiterates that truth. God loves us with so much love and He was generous with His mercy, that when we were dead through our sins, He brought us to life through Jesus.

And we must listen to that – God loves us with so much love! And that is also what Jesus is saying in the gospel: God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

The message is loud and clear – God loves us so much, and He also calls out to us with so much love, so that we will realize that we are God’s work of love, created in Christ Jesus, to live the good life as from the beginning He had meant us to live it.

And we hear those love calls from God. There is the call to come back to Him and be reconciled. This coming week is the Penitential Service for the parishes in the City District. Will we respond to God’s call and to be reconciled with Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

There is also the call to serve. The parish is in need of catechists, so that the young will be taught about the love of God. Will we be willing to think about it and see how we can respond to the call to share God’s love with the young?

Besides that, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is in need of members to serve the poor. The numbers of the Friends-In-Need have increased and with that the expenses have increased. 

But the members of the SSVP have not increased much, and so very often they are short-handed when it comes to delivering rations to the home-bound. So that’s another area that God is calling out to us. Will we be willing to answer the call to serve Christ in the poor?

And there is the call to give. We have already received the Charities Week envelopes. Are we just going to leave those envelopes aside, or will we respond by giving and sharing with those who are less fortunate.

God so loved the world, and He loves us with so much love that He gave us His only Son, Jesus. 

And Jesus is calling us to love and to serve. Let us not fear to answer His call. It is a call of love and a call to love.

May we answer that call so that we will be able to live the good life that God had meant us to live it.