March 27, 2009


5th Sunday of Lent – B
John 12:20-33

Jesus’ Hour, My Hour

If we read the Gospel of John continuously, by now, chapter 12, we must have become familiar with the phrase referring to “Jesus’ hour.” At the wedding at Cana, Jesus answered Mary’s request saying, “my hour has not yet come” (2:5). Then, in chapter 7, Jesus explained to his brothers that he was not going up to Jerusalem with them for the feast of Tabernacles because “[his] time has not yet fulfilled” (7:8). Then twice, some people wanted to arrest him, but they could not because “his hour had not yet come” (7:30 and 8:20).[1]

Things have changed. Now Jesus lets us know that the hour is near. In fact, he explains the purpose of his life in reference to this hour. In this hour, he will glorify the Father’s name. He will do so by “drawing everyone to himself” when he is “lifted from the earth.”

As Christians, we are all called to glorify God’s name by sharing the cross of Jesus in our own life with love. And every moment of our day is the hour for us to do that. Let us live with the conviction that when we are lifted up on our crosses, others and we are all drawn to God.

[1] Moloney, Francis J. This is the Gospel of the Lord, Year B. Homebush, NSW, Australia: St. Paul, 1993; p. 96.

March 21, 2009


4th Sunday of Lent – B
John 3:14-21

God So Loves the World

God loves the world. God loves us. God loves me. That belief would be enough for us to live, to be happy, and to love as God intends for us.

And God wants us to know that God loves us.

The love of God is concrete. The author of the Gospel of John points out two major events that God reveals His love. The first event is the incarnation of the Word. In the prologue of this gospel, we read, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth” (1:14). The Son came into the world to reveal to us the Father and His love. Again, in the prologue, “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him” (1:18). God loves us, and He wants us to know that.

The second event is the “lifting up” of the Son of Man for the life of the world (3:14-15). The Greek verb used here means “both a physical lifting up (…) and an exultation.”[1] It is on the cross that the Son makes the ultimate sacrifice to give us life. At that moment, the revelation of God’s love reaches its climax. Now we know that “God so loves the world.”

[1] Moloney, Francis J. The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 95.

March 14, 2009


Third Sunday of Lent – B
John 2:13-25

The Temple is My Father’s House

For Jesus, the Temple is not just a physical structure or even a house of worship. It is God’s house.

Jesus is zealous for the Father’s house, as the disciples understand the prophecy, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Because it is the Father’s house, it must be treated as such.

The action of Jesus driving out the people and their animals in fact takes place in the outer court of the Temple, the area known as the Court of the Gentiles. Even though the trading takes place in that area, it is enough for Jesus to find His Father’s house being desecrated.

Moreover, for a gentile, whatever he experiences here is all he knows of Jewish worship. And the commotion must have made it impossible for anyone to pray.[1] Consequently, Jesus is understandably angry at the scandals the God-fearers of gentile origin are exposed to. It gives Jesus another reason to purify the Temple.

As Christians, we have been baptized and become God’s Temple. The presence of God’s Son has transformed us into God’s House. Jesus’ reaction in this Gospel passage reminds and invites us to zealously treat ourselves and our brothers and sisters as God’s House.

[1] Barclay, William. The Gospel of John, Revised Edition, Vol. 1. Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1975; p. 113.

March 5, 2009


2nd Sunday of Lent - B
Mark 9:2-10

Jesus Revealed as the Son of God on the Cross

First, the timing: The Transfiguration in Mark begins with “After six days” (9:2), which “may indicate that the event took place on the seventh day, and would thus have a sense of fulfillment.”[1] (The Gospel reading for the Sunday liturgy omits this phrase).

Second, the location: In Scriptures, mountains are the places where people encounter God. For example, Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:25-17, Elijah on Mount Horeb in 1 Kings 19:11.

Third, the characters: Elijah and Moses represent the Prophets and the Law. Through them, God’s revelation came to Israel. They prepared for the new and complete revelation in Jesus Christ, as we learn in the Letter to the Hebrews, “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” (1:1-3a)

All the three elements of time, place and characters prepare for the climax of the event of the Transfiguration. In this glorious setting, God testifies to the identity of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son.”

We have here the second time God speaks of Jesus as God’s beloved Son. (The first time is at the river Jordan in 1:11). Yet, it takes more than God’s own words for people to recognize who Jesus truly is. It is not until the crucifixion that a human being acknowledges this truth. Witnessing Jesus’ death, the centurion professes, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (15:39). It is by his death on the cross that “the true identity of Jesus is revealed.”[2]

Yes, it is with the Cross that the revelation and the reality of God’s love reaches its fullness.

[1] Moloney, Francis J., The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 177.
[2] Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Mark. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002; p. 449.

2nd Sunday of Lent - B (March 8, 2009)