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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflection for March 11
 

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

March 11, 2018 — Fourth Sunday of Lent
John 3:14-21
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

At televised sporting events we frequently see someone in the crowd holding a sign reading “John 3:16.” Today’s Gospel includes this verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

The Gospel begins with words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who was starting to believe in Jesus. Jesus recalls an event that took place during the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. In the desert they stumbled into a nest of snakes. Many people were bitten, and some died. God told Moses to make a “saraph serpent” of bronze, place it on a pole, and hold it up. Those who looked upon it were healed. This prefigured Christ’s saving death on the cross, and Jesus said that he, the Son of Man, would be lifted up so that all who believed in him might have eternal life. By the time Jesus was crucified, Nicodemus had come to know and love Jesus. Along with Joseph of Arimathea, he asked Pilate for Christ’s body, and saw that it was properly buried.

Today’s Gospel goes on to say that in Jesus, “the light came into the world.” Sadly, many people refuse to believe in Jesus, preferring darkness to light. But God’s love and Christ’s light turned darkness into light for Nicodemus. He and Joseph of Arimathea placed Christ’s body in the darkness of a tomb on Good Friday. That darkness was transformed into the glorious light of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

When Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure and gave her the Miraculous Medal, rays of light flowed from Mary’s hands, the light of Christ’s saving grace. Encouraged by Mary’s intercession, we let Jesus take us from the darkness of sin and death to the light of grace and life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Read last week's reflection.