Fourth Sunday of Lent Reflection
Jesus said to Nicodemus “… so must the Son of Man be lifted … for God so loved the world.”
On this fourth Sunday of Lent we find Jesus in dialogue with Nicodemus. It seems that Nicodemus was hoping for a theological discussion, a teacher to teacher talk. What he got was a dialogue that included Jesus asking questions (it looks more like a teacher-student dialogue).
The first time I read this Gospel in preparing for this reflection I was attracted to the feet of Jesus (the cross above hangs in our chapel behind the altar). The crucified/risen Jesus is standing on the globe. His feet are firmly planted on our planet. I chose a black and white photo to emphasize the darkness of our world. But – the scripture verse from 1 John 4:9 “SEE HOW THE FATHER HAS LOVED US” would be what Nicodemus might remember the best from that night time lesson with the Master/Friend. The most quoted line from Christ’s dialogue with Nicodemus is the one about God so loving the world that he sent His Son to save us.
What is there on my memory lane that relates to this Gospel? It is a First Communion preparation class. I remember the room, the classmates. The year was 1947 in Germany. Some of us were evacuees from bombed-out cities, many of us were refugees from Eastern Europe, but all of us children were ready for a lesson of hope, a lesson that says God cares. Our young curate rose to the occasion and presented in vivid drama how the persons of the Trinity gathered in heaven to see what could be done about the mess the human beings had made of the earth. GOD WAS WILLING TO SEND HIS SON. Of course with my vivid imagination I wondered whether God cried when Jesus came to earth. This was because three years prior to that lesson I had seen my mother cry bitter tears into my brother’s suitcase: she was preparing it for his deployment. Now he was a war prisoner in 1947, 18 years old and off rail health.
My mother had already asked me to pray to Jesus on the day of my First Communion to let my brother come home. God loved the world so much he send some kind people to the Russian prison to let my brother come home. That was a day of rejoicing in our family. The atmosphere was like: “Love lifted me, Love lifted me. When nothing else could help, Love lifted me” (1912).
Sr. Klara Laukötter, CPS