Dear Friend,
Right in the middle of Lent we are called to rejoice! The cause of our joy is 
the fact that our God is so good that he continues to love us in spite of our 
sinfulness. No doubt the Israelites were banished into exile because of their 
sins. Our God must be a crazy God because He forgives us and blesses us umpteen 
times even when we go against Him! We celebrate today His goodness and mercy, 
which is greater than our sinfulness. Have a thanksgiving weekend celebrating 
his unconditional love! Fr. Jude
Sunday Refl.: 4th Sun. of Lent ‘God loved the world so much he gave us his 
son!’   11-Mar-2018Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2: 4-10; John 3: 
14-21;                                   The reading from the Book of 
Chronicles lists the sinfulness of the people who had abandoned God and 
polluted the house of God with their abominations. God kept sending his 
messengers to remind his people to come back to him but they refused to listen 
and scoffed their message. This went on for the full seventy years of their 
exile. A new era began with Cyrus the king of Persia. The transition began with 
the Passover of Egypt. Now that their journey was complete the Israelites 
celebrate the Passover anew and the feast of the unleavened bread accompanying 
it. The manna that sustained them during the journey ceased to be available to 
them. Like the Israelites, we, the people of God will begin with the Passover 
and will end with the Passover commemorating God’s loving compassion and care 
for us sinners.

Forgive and be ForgivenSome time ago a woman wrote a letter to Ann Landers 
describing the terrible relationship that once existed between her and her 
brother. It took the death of their father to get her to forgive him and to 
treat him as a brother again. Sometime after their reconciliation, her brother 
had a heart attack and died in her arms. She ends her letter with this moving 
paragraph. “I am grateful for the years we had together, but I could scream 
when I think of all the years we missed because we were too bull-headed and 
short-sighted to try to get along. Now he is gone and I am heartsick.” Today’s 
gospel is an invitation to review the relationships in our lives and to bring 
them into line with Jesus’ teaching.Mark Link in ‘Sunday Homilies’ 
Nicodemus is at the centre of today’s gospel. We can learn by reflecting on 
Nicodemus and how he grew in his relationship with Jesus. He began by showing 
an interest and wanting to know about Jesus. We see him as a genuine seeker of 
the truth and this gradually leads him to become a disciple of Jesus. The 
gospel of John shows him as a seeker, moving progressively from the darkness to 
the light. In today’s gospel we hear Jesus speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus says: 
“The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert 
so that those who believe may have eternal life in him.” Jesus so adapted the 
image of the bronze serpent that it comes alive in his own person, as he hangs 
agonizingly upon the cross. Both the bronze serpent and Jesus crucified 
symbolize ‘Sin’. “To believe” means that we see the terrible effects of our 
evil in Jesus and so accept sin’s toll on ourselves. Our own selves cut their 
shape upon Jesus, yet Jesus’ peace and grace cure and transform our weakness. 
God so loved the world, that through his Son’s death Light comes into the 
world. Light allows us to see ourselves, others and our entire world as it is 
in Christ! When we choose goodness we are choosing Jesus. When we look at the 
real world of today and prayerfully seek God’s will and courageously follow it, 
we will come to the realization that “salvation is ours through faith. This is 
not our own doing, it is God’s gift. When God has thus “in Christ Jesus raised 
us up,” we must rejoice. This day will rightly become “Rejoice” Sunday.     
Inability to ForgiveThe singing career of Grammy award winner Marvin Gaye ended 
in tragedy on April 1, 1983. He was shot to death by his own father. Gaye’s 
close friend David Ritz wrote Gaye’s biography a year later. He called it 
Divided Soul. Gaye was indeed a divided soul. He was part artist and part 
entertainer, part sinner and part saint, part macho man and part gentleman. 
Gaye’s childhood was tormented by cruelty inflicted upon him by his father. 
Commenting on the effect this had on Gaye, Ritz says of his friend: “He really 
believed in Jesus a lot, but he could never apply the teaching of Jesus on 
forgiveness to his own father. In the end it destroyed them both.” That story 
of an unforgiving father and son contrasts sharply with the story of the 
forgiving father and son, which Jesus tells in the gospel. And the contrast 
between the two stories spotlights a growing problem in modern society. It is 
the inability or unwillingness of people to forgive one another. Mark Link in 
‘Sunday Homilies’
Coming out into the LightThe coming of light ought to be good news for those 
living in darkness, Sadly this is not always the case. The Simon Community runs 
night shelters for the down-and outs. Each night some volunteers bring soup and 
sandwiches to those who, for one reason or another, do not want to come to the 
shelter. They go looking for them in derelict buildings and such places. The 
most important aid they take with them is a flash lamp, because often there is 
no light where the down-and-outs live. Most of the down-and-outs welcome the 
arrival of the volunteers. But some (for example, those on the run from the 
police) refuse to have anything to do with them. The volunteers can tell at 
once which group they are dealing with by their reaction to the light. Some 
welcome the light. Others fear it because it shows up the darkness in their 
lives –the darkness of alcoholism, misery, hopelessness and crime. That’s how 
it was with the coming of Christ’s light. Christ did not come to judge people 
but to save them. He came bearing a light –the light of truth, goodness and 
salvation from sin. Some welcomed his light, but others rejected it because it 
showed up the evil in their lives.Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sunday & Holy Day 
Mutiny on the BountyMutiny on the Bounty is one of the most adventurous 
maritime episodes in history. Captain Bligh sailed in the ship to Tahiti in 
search of breadfruit plant for the West Indies. He was proud and ruthless, and 
many of his crew were against him. While returning from Tahiti, most of the 
sailors rebelled against him and a mutiny broke out. The captain and 17 of his 
sympathizers were forced into a small boat and were left on the high sea.  The 
mutineers, 15 of them with the ship Bounty went to Tahiti. Gathering with them 
some men, women and children, they reached a small Island called Pitcairn in 
the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America. Afraid that they might 
be found out if they had the ship, they saved whatever they could carry and 
burnt the ship. This group of undesirable perpetuated their evil lives of 
drinking, revelry and murder. Within ten years of their landing on this island 
only one survived. His name was John Adams, and he was no better than the rest 
who died. However, he had to take on the responsibility of the Island’s folk. 
One day as he was checking the goods salvaged from the ship before it was 
burnt, he found an old Bible. Though he was not interested in it, it was the 
only book on the Island, and he began reading it. The Word of God began to work 
in him, and eventually, he changed his, life and became a new creation in 
Christ. He built a school cum church and began to lead the children in 
Christian experience. For years the only book they had was the Bible. Years 
later, a strong Christian community was formed on this Island. The warm and 
pleasant behaviour of the people on this Island attracted the ships sailing 
through the Pacific. In 1980 when a census was taken, all the inhabitants on 
the Island were Christians.John Rose in ‘John’s Sunday Homilies’
Coming out into the LightThe shortest journey to the light is by doing the 
good/right thing. The following true story beautifully illustrates this. In the 
Lithuanian city of Kovno there lived a Jewish professor. Though he had been an 
agnostic all his life, the professor began to be more and more troubled by the 
sad, neglected condition of the Jewish graveyard in the city. Since the 
holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis and the harassment of them by the Soviets, 
no one had taken care of their graves. So out of the goodness if his heart, the 
professor himself decided to do so.  Whether or not he was aware that tending 
graves is a ‘mitzvah’, that is a traditional good deed, we do not know. In any 
case, the old man acquired a spade, a sickle and shears, and began the job of 
making the graveyard worthy of those buried in it. At first he was on his own, 
but as some weeks went by other Jews joined him in the work. Most of these were 
once observant Jews but had become agnostic like the professor. Eventually 
there were some two hundred of them, all doing a good thing. As they worked a 
beautiful thing happened. Their Jewish faith came alight in them. Practically 
all of them became observant Jews once more. -We have to accept that there is 
darkness in our lives and in our world. How many of our deeds are done in the 
light? How many of them could bare the scrutiny of the light? Alas, we 
disciples of Jesus sometimes prefer the darkness to light.Flor McCarthy in “New 
Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies”
Love is: The will to extend oneself for nurturing spiritual growthScott Peck, 
the author of the book: The Road Less Travelled, defines love as, “The will to 
extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own and another’s 
spiritual growth.” God gave His Son to us so that we may have eternal life. 
Therefore the love of God is a life-giving love. 
A young lad was being swept out to sea. A man risked his life by swimming 
through the treacherous riptide to save the boy. After the boy recovered from 
his harrowing experience, he said to the man, “Thank you for saving my life!” 
The man looked into the boy’s eyes and said, “That’s okay kid! Just make sure 
your life was worth saving.”John Pichappilly in “The Table of the Lord”
Gift of GraceDostoyevsky tells the story of a woman who found herself in hell 
and felt she did not belong there. She could not bear the suffering and cried 
out in agony for the mercy of God. God listened and was moved with pity. “If 
you can remember one good deed you did in your lifetime, I will help you,” said 
God. Searching her brain, she remembered that once she had given a starving 
neighbour an onion. God produced the onion complete with stem. The woman 
grabbed the onion, and God began to pull her out of hell. But others, damned 
with her, began to grab hold of the woman’s skirts to be lifted out, too. The 
stem of the onion held and would have saved them all, but the woman began to 
kick and scream for them to let go, Trashing about trying to dislodge her 
friends was too much for the onion and the stem snapped, plunging them all back 
into the depths of hell.John Pichappilly in “Ignite your Spirit” 
May we relish His unconditional love and be witnesses of that love to others! 

Fr. Jude Botelho botelhoj...@gmail.com
PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been 
collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and 
from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever 
possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you 
could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in 
these reflections. These reflections are also available on my Web site 
www.NetForLife.net Thank you.

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