Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 11, 2018
I love to read history, or watch a good documentary. But more often than not, I feel sad when it’s over. Hello, I’m Father Greg Friedman, and this is the Sunday Soundbite for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Not all of human history is sad, but so much of it is the story of human folly and cruelty–of bad choices. War, greed, oppression, mark the history of our world.
The Bible has its share of sad stories, and today’s first reading is one of them. The account from the Second Book of Chronicles generally tries to stress the positive points of Israel’s history. But here in describing the infidelity that preceded the tragedy of the exile or “Babylonian Captivity,” the author tells in stark terms how the people abandoned their half of the covenant with God.
In theological language, the result is that God declares a Sabbath–a time of rest for the land–until the “lost Sabbaths”–the neglect of God–has been restored. This history ends on a note of hope, describing how the Persian king, Cyrus, was God’s instrument to restore the people to their homeland.
In Lent, we examine our lives in order to restore our part of the baptismal covenant–our relationship with God in Christ. As our other Scriptures for today point out, in Jesus Christ God brings life from death, light from darkness. That’s the hope of those preparing for Baptism, and the hope of those of us keeping this Lent.