Year B: Fourth Sunday of Lent
Second Reading: Ephesians 2: 4-10
The Second Reading is not usually chosen to be anything other than a continuous reading from one of the letters. During the Times and Seasons, we find that there a more explicit links between the readings.
Today, St Paul picks up on the theme of the Gospel - the love of God for humanity which led Him to send His own Son into the world.
This freely given gift of God is - like any gift - something that we haven’t earned or deserved - it is purely gift.
If we had earned it, it would be a wage. If we deserved it, it would be a reward. But the gift of the life - the death and the resurrection of Jesus is something beyond earning or deserving. How could any human - or even every human - earn or deserve the presence of God Himself walking among humanity?
We can’t - and it is futile to try.
There are those who use today’s reading for point scoring - unfortunately. They speak of the difference between justification by faith and the justification by good works. Justification by faith means that we are saved purely and wholly by the grace of God. Justification by good works means that we are saved by what we do. For generations, Christians argued about this - without fully listening to each other! Some said that faith was enough - others seemed to say that it was proved by good works!
When Christians actually listened to each other, they discovered something bigger than either!. If, by grace of God, we are saved, then that draws from us faith. However, simply to say “I am saved” is empty unless our lives reflect that truth by our good works. Our “good works” can’t earn our salvation but a faith without them is a purely academic exercise!
Many of us have met people who
claim to have been “saved” - but whose lives do not bear witness
to that. Far more powerful is the testimony of one who says “I
have been saved” - and whose very life proclaims that to the
What does it mean for me?