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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear Friends,
As I’m writing this column, it’s a Monday when the pages of the sports’ section of the papers are filled with stories from the Combine, that unique NFL weekend when college football players show their “wares” to a whole bunch of NFL coaches, GMs, scouts and other professionals, ahead of the April NFL draft. Interesting to see the pre-predictions of what teams want what player(s) and then compare it to the actual results of the draft.

Though the football season is over, our Gospel reading always brings me back to football because the lead verse is one that can be seen on signs in the end zone at many a game. (Although not as frequently as in the past, it seems to me). And I’ve always wondered why at football games and not basketball games or hockey games? And if anyone can answer that for me, I would appreciate it. Of course, the sign is, John 3:16, and it refers to what has often been called the most popular verse in Scripture. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

As I said last week, beginning last week the Scripture readings were transitioning, from a focus on ourselves and our sins, to a focus on Jesus and what He has done for us for the forgiveness of those sins. This re-shifting is full-blown today. But we are not left out. In this dialogue with Nicodemus, we become interactive partners with Nicodemus, as Jesus invites us to make a choice for Him or against Him.

John 3:16 is certainly beautiful and comforting as it stands alone. But when we put it into the context of the whole episode with Nicodemus, the call to believe in Jesus involves so much more of us than the verse implies. In this usual way, John‘s words must be understood both for what they say and the symbolic message they transmit. Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night, a recurring symbol in John of the darkness of mind and soul of the Jewish religion, a symbol of the lack of understanding and wisdom to see God at work in Jesus and a symbol of the power of the evil one (as later, when Judas leaves the supper in the night). This lack of understanding is made more specific in the earlier dialogue (not included in today’s reading) when Jesus talks about being born again of water and the Spirit and Nicodemus can only think of crawling back into the womb. In a very direct way, Jesus challenges Nicodemus by asking him what kind of teacher of truth can he be if he does not understand these things. Only then do we come to the words of today’s Gospel, as Jesus testifies to Nicodemus, and to us, God’s purpose in sending His Son, with Jesus’ own prediction – some will accept this and some will reject it.

Reading the whole passage, John 3:1-21, helps us to understand better the message the Church is trying to give us on this 4th Sunday of Lent. Here is the Good News, the reason we call this Laetare Sunday, the call to rejoice – God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. What will you do with it? Will you accept it, choose to live by it, and walk in the light? Or will you choose to reject it (if in actions and not specifically in words) and continue to walk in the darkness? More than half-way through Lent, what is your answer?

Nicodemus came to Jesus in the darkness. The Gospel doesn’t explicitly say whether he left in the light, or was “born again.” What would it say about you?
God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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