4TH SUNDAY OF LENT (LAETARE SUNDAY) YEAR B ON MARCH 7, 2021 (R. 1: 2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23; Psalm 137: 1-2, 3, 4-5, 6; R. 2: Ephesians 2: 4-10; Gospel: John 3: 14-21)
FR EMMANUEL INEDU OCHIGBO
PUT ON YOUR HEARING AID!
A young lady went to meet her Pastor (Parish Priest) on a Monday morning and she said, “Father, I have come to thank you for the special prayer you said at Mass yesterday for all those who are hearing impaired. But would you, please say a special prayer next Sunday for those who must live with them!” She went on to explain to the priest that her 97- year old grandmother refuses to wear the expensive hearing aid her family got for her. She leaves it on her dresser because she thinks it makes her look old. As a result of that she complains around that she is always left out of family conversations as she feels people are always whispering.
My dearly beloved in Christ, in the season of Lent, even as we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus, the Church prepares us for the resurrection. For example, two Sundays ago (2nd Sunday of Lent), with the reading on the Transfiguration, the Church was reminding us that the suffering and death of Jesus will lead to his resurrection and glorification. In today’s Gospel passage on the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, the Church prepares us for the resurrection by reminding us of the incarnation: God became a human being that we may be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus Christ, the light of God has been brought to us, but this requires a response from us if we are to have a share in the resurrection of Jesus. The birth, earthly ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened once upon a time in history. But his redemptive work is for the benefit of all human beings of every race and of every age. In order that we who were not at the foot of the cross when it happened in history, may have a full share in the fruit of his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus has given us the Sacraments as means of connecting us to the merits of what he did at a point in time. It is like the news media. For example, the signal from CNN is in the air, but we need to get a television and tune to the right channel to partake of what is being sent from the studio.
Unfortunately, many times, we are like the 97-year old lady who would not use her hearing aid because she thinks it makes her look old. God has given us many hearing aids to enable us to hear him and connect to his grace, but we put them away because we think they make us look old. He has given us conscience as a kind of hearing aid; he has given us the scripture as his word; he has given us the Church and the Sacraments. But come to think of it, when we are faced with difficult decisions to make in life, do we not sometimes push aside these divinely prepared hearing aids because we feel they make us look old? Do we not sometimes say that the bible is outdated or that the Church is old fashioned?
God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him. The onus is now on us to bring ourselves to him to benefit from the merits of his salvific works. The season of Lent calls us to examine ourselves to see how we have been making the best of the hearing aids God has put in place for us. For the times we have failed, let us find consolation in the fact that the Lord understands our struggles with sin. But what He simply asks of us is that we should acknowledge our weakness and our need of Him and let Him do His work in us. Remember, according to St. Augustine of Hippo, “God who created you without you, will not save you without you.”