Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent
On the 25th of each month and this month will be no different, I will hear, singing through the office: “9 months from today is Christmas!” Now I’m not mentioning any names, but many of you know who I am referring to: hint: you talk with her when you’re reserving your seat for mass.
The reason I mention Christmas is because the Gospel reminds us that we prepare for Jesus’ resurrection experience by remembering the incarnation (the birth of Jesus). We look toward Easter by remembering what happened at Christmas. “The Light has come into the world,” as we heard Jesus say to Nicodemus in today’s Gospel.
Now Nicodemus is an interesting character. He was a Pharisee and leading figure among the Jewish people, yet he refused to let the other Pharisees condemn Jesus without knowing more about his claim. And so Nicodemus goes out to investigate on his own to find out who Jesus is.
He is searching for truth, and so he goes to Jesus (in the secret of night time), and has an encounter with him. Jesus tells him that he must come into the light if he wants the truth. He also told Nicodemus that he would see the “Son of Man lifted up,” a reference that he would witness both crucifixion and resurrection.
Nicodemus is changed by this encounter with Jesus. He will eventually he becomes his disciple. In fact, after the crucifixion, he will go to Pilate in the full light of day (not in the darkness of night) to claim the body of Jesus for burial. So when we look at the life of Nicodemus, his journey began in the darkness of night which led him to the “Light” the light of truth, the Light of Christ. He had discovered the truth in Jesus.
2000 years later we, too, are called to walk in the light of truth, the light of Jesus. In many ways we are a lot like Nicodemus. At times we travel in the darkness searching for the light of truth, even when it is right in front of us.
Everyday, we struggle with our darkness, whatever that may be: the darkness of grudges, anger, we blame others, and ourselves instead of letting it go; we don’t speak up for another when we have the chance, we take the approach, ‘if I don’t see it… it doesn’t exist’. And yet, despite our shortcomings, Like Nicodemus, we come into the light when we do good for others: caring for those in need, caring for others during the pandemic; praying for and attending to those in need: the addicted, job loss, and the lonely; our contributions to the hunger at HVHS… are all examples of coming into the light. This past week, I celebrated 2 funerals… working with 2 different grieving families, who are experiencing the most painful darkness. I ask myself, Where’s the light there? I found in their faith and in those coming to their aid and support, the ones who are comforting and praying for them.
In less than a month, we will celebrate Easter and not Christmas. As we continue our Lenten journey, let us remember our Lenten theme for this year, “HOPE.” Perhaps we could ask ourselves, “in those darken areas of my own heart, where do I need to let the Light of Jesus in? This is the truth and hope that Nicodemus discovered, the same truth and hope that is freely offered to each of us. Amen.