Fourth Sunday in Lent – Year B

John 3:14-21

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.

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Scratched Eye

At the beginning of the story, there is a group of people whose spiritual blindness triggers the conflict around the healing of the blind man. This group is the blind man’s immediate community. In a twist of irony, his neighbors fail to see the miracle before their eyes: one of their own experienced healing! Sadly, instead of welcoming him back into the community, they bring him to the Pharisees to be interrogated. 

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The Invitation to Celebrate

The gospel text this week begins with a group of religious folk — “Pharisees and scribes,” but feel free to insert titles from your denomination — complaining about Jesus’ habit of welcoming and eating with “sinners.” In his very rabbinic way, Jesus doesn’t address the accusation head-on, but begins to tell a series of stories, culminating with the one that has come to be known as the “Prodigal Son.”

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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 about it will defy our expectations.

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The Judgement of God

In our Lenten journey we are nearing the cross, the place where Jesus will make visible that to which we are blind and change the way we see forever. We will see the excluded one give birth to a new kind of community that is scapegoat free.

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Transforming Oikos

I have seen first-hand how eating together creates a community. We Filipinos like to eat together. Common meals are easily transformed into festive celebrations. In the Philippines,  a church that eats together is a vivid image of the church truly becoming a community of faith.

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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 facility…

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The Judgement of Mercy

The story begins with the disciples speculating theologically on who is to blame for a certain man being born blind; they are convinced God is punishing him. Jesus refuses this interpretation and heals the blind man…an act that “divides” the unstable community; he robs them of their scapegoat. Blinded by their own dim judgment, and in an effort to preserve the status quo, the community “drives out” the healed man from their midst.

Jesus follows the exile to the margins where the two of them establish the possibility of a new community, one founded upon mercy, not the blind guide of sacrifice. This is the “judgment” for which Jesus came into the world-the judgment of mercy.

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Scandalously Wasteful: The Prodigal Dad

We continue our trek this Lenten season toward the Cross and our journey this week takes us into a very familiar narrative. Perhaps the most dramatic example in Scripture of…

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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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