Fourth Sunday in Lent – Year B

March 10 - 22

Gospel Lectionary Text

John 3:14-21

3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

3:17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

3:18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

3:19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

3:20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.

3:21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."


Welcome to the fourth week of Lent. Last week Jesus reimagined the Temple by liberating sacrificial victims. This week Jesus reimagines the Law by liberating it of condemnation.

Under the cover of night, Jesus has a conversation with Nicodemus that centers on the nature of God’s judgment. Jesus shifts the paradigm of judgment from condemnation to mercy. He invites us to see the Law, not as a set of unattainable metrics that condemn us, but as the light of love that frees us.

Jesus contrasts God’s mercy that is written on our hearts with the serpent that Moses lifted up in the desert. Whereas the serpent is the symbol of sacrificial religion that darkens our path and entombs us, God’s judgment of mercy lights the way to freedom. This is how God “so loves the world.” To be judged by the light of mercy is to know ourselves as the beloved and to offer this same judgment to others.


What would it be like if we started "judging" ourselves and others through the affirming eyes of love?


Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still
See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

God’s New Age

In this week’s text, Jesus foretells his death. He relates it to a moment in the Bible when God used Moses to save the Israelites from snakes by looking at a … snake. It was unusual, to say the least. In the same way, Jesus reminds his listeners that his salvation will happen, but everything...

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The Death of a Little Jewish Guy

Craig Sanders needed three surgeries to survive his injuries after awakening to a severe beating back in January 2013, while detained at Camden County Jail. Giving credence to inmate reports from the jail, accounts of such beatings no longer alarmed me. Those of us working at street-level knew the war stories coming from the overfilled...

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The Lightest Touch, The Touch of Light

Glancing back, I saw my father slowly slide his belt from his trousers. He folded it in half. His face was ashen; I turned away. I tried in vain to relax my buttocks – rumored among friends to make it not hurt so bad. I wouldn’t know. I’d never gotten the belt before,

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison