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Homily for Saturday March 20, 2021 – The 4th Week of Lent

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

March 20, 2021 – Saturday The 4th Week of Lent

Jeremiah 11: 18 – 20; Ps:7;John 7: 40 – 53

On Fridays the Lenten antiphon for the Song of Mary is: “In order to gain
Christ and the joy of the Kingdom who dares to suffer the loss of all things?”
It doesn’t take much effort to chant this but to what degree are you/am I
willing to suffer such a loss to gain Christ and enter the Kingdom?

In today’s Gospel, we hear of someone who did suffer loss, how much – who
knows, but there certainly was loss. He was a Pharisee, a man of authority in
the Jewish community, and given his strong commitment to his Israelite
roots, he was experiencing a dramatic change, a profound change.

At first, Nicodemus, surely fearful and curious, met with Jesus at night. We
can conjecture that he had heard Jesus preach with an authority, unique and
captivating; perhaps, he had witnessed Jesus healing someone. In that
encounter in the darkness of night, the Light began to enlighten him and
grace already at work was taking greater hold.

When the soldiers had a chance to arrest Jesus and could not, the frustration
of the Pharisees knew no bounds; they almost had Him, the One whose death
they sought and plotted. In the midst of their furor, Nicodemus spoke out
courageously. We can imagine how they all turned in amazement, in anger
when he challenged them: “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears
him and finds out what he is doing?”

They railed at him and “Then each went to his own home.” Most to fume and
plan but one to grow more into the Light. Nicodemus is a good example for
all people of faith, for us – a seeker, moved by grace to grow into that
seeking, willing to embrace the Light so to be taken more and more into the
mystery of God through the Lord Jesus. He is now known as St. Nicodemus
and his feast day is August 31; with St. Joseph of Arimathea, in public view he
took the dead Christ from the cross so complete was his transformation.

May we, through his intercession, know a same complete transformation in
Christ. Why else be a seeker?