Reflection for Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 14, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Lent, Yr. B
For by grace . . .
“Ever since I was little I liked to help old people,” said the elderly woman residing in Safe Harbor. Those words emanated from her after she lovingly removed her own sweater and wrapped it around another resident. It wasn’t that the other resident requested or deserved such caring attention. It was an instance of God’s grace bubbling through her and overflowing in kindness toward another. The woman whom some would label confused and beyond rational action followed the way God created her to be. She was called to perceive a need and to respond to it.
According to the letter to the Ephesians, God’s great mercy flows out of God’s great love for us. God raises us out of our prideful pursuits and petty profiling to be partners in bestowing kindness. “By grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Grace is total gift. God’s love does not come with strings attached. Salvation is not something to be earned or grasped. Christ lived, died and rose so that gifted with the reassurance of God’s unending love for us we are “raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places.”
We are “raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places.” That is astonishing to hear, to hear that in this very now we are with Christ “in the heavenly places.” Yet that is what the inspired writer of Ephesians states in chapter 2.
The good news gets even better, as the writer of Ephesians shares that all, no not just some are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” In other words, God’s grace undergirds our growing in awareness of God’s daily call to see with God’s compassion the needs around us.
For by grace . . .
Sister Margaret James frequently guided Sister Monica in her wheelchair up and down the cloister walk and for fresh air outings in the garden court. Sister Margaret James didn’t have to do this, but for love of her younger sister she couldn’t imagine not giving Monica those rides.
We can’t imagine not helping and sometimes it seems we can’t help but help. Again, recall Ephesians: “We are created in Christ Jesus for good works. We have been made alive together through God’s love. We are what God has made us.” The consequence of God’s gift of grace is that we desire to walk the way of grace –compassion, kindness.
For by grace . . .
He was just a little kindergarten child, but God’s grace showed forth in him. It wasn’t that he appeared exceptional in the academic setting of kindergarten or that he excelled above others in good citizenship.
However, one memorable day after an ordinary decision was made by the teacher this little child reacted in an extraordinary way. The teacher determined that this child should be rewarded for his good behavior and thereby said he could work in a special area. Most children would beam and gratefully go and stay in that area. At first that seemed to be the result of being chosen. Upon hearing another child express disappointment at not being chosen, the chosen child said, “You can take my place.”
God’s grace fills even little kindergarten children to go beyond themselves and respond to the feelings of others. That little kindergarten boy was called by God to respond with grace to the cry of another.
Each of our journeys begins with God’s grace, is accompanied by God’s grace and ends with an eternal sharing in God’s grace. We don’t have to wait for God’s grace to appear among us. We don’t earn God’s grace through our efforts. We trust in God’s great love for us and with joyful gratitude are given a place with God now and forevermore.
Sister Dorene King