FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
10 March 2013
The Israelites are drawing close to the goal of their long trek from Egypt. They have passed the Dead Sea to the south and come northward along its eastern bank. They have now turned to the west, crossed over the Jordan River (with some divine help), and entered the promised land, a territory occupied by a variety of ethnic peoples. They are approaching a Canaanite city that stands in their way. They cleans themselves by circumcising all the men; they sit tight until the men are healed. Then they keep the first Passover in the promised land. Now they are ready for the battle of Jericho.
Second Corinthians 5:16-21.
Paul is trying to make his people understand the mystery of Christ the redeemer. For all those “in Christ” (a favorite phrase of Paul’s) the old, sinful life has passed, and everything is made new. All sins are forgiven through the mediation of Christ. The last sentence in our reading is puzzling: God “made him to be sin who knew no sin.” Probably Paul meant that God made Christ to be a sin offering, a sacrificial lamb. Christians have been praying for 1700 years, “Oh, Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.”