4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B
God loved the world so much ...
God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.
God’s love for humanity is proclaimed throughout the liturgy this Sunday. The readings shed light on our story of salvation, and reflect the depth of eternal love that God expresses for all people.
The First Reading describes how, for centuries, prophets had proclaimed the truth at the heart of God’s covenant with Israel. The people turned away from this wisdom. They became captives, not only to hostile invaders, but also to their sinful ways. But even though the hearts of the people turned away from God, God’s love remained. In time this love would become flesh in the person of Jesus.
The Psalm is a song of lament and of deep longing for freedom from slavery and captivity. Following the long months of restrictions from the virus, we, too, truly know the pain of this loss and yearn for freedom.
In the Second Reading, Paul describes the depth of God’s love and his understanding of the suffering of humanity. Paul explains how the incarnation, life and death of Jesus restore us all to the life we were always meant to live.
Today’s Gospel links Israel’s story of exile with the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus. The deep truth at the heart of God’s covenant is revealed to Nicodemus, who represents the ancient knowledge and law of Israel. Jesus brings light and love to a meeting that takes place in darkness and ignorance.
Let us pray that our own hearts, and the hearts of all humanity, will turn towards the light of God’s love. May we, in the way we live our lives, each make manifest God’s love for the world.