Third Sunday in Lent, Year A

Inspired by Romans 5:1-11

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.  But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:6-9 (NRSV)

We like to think of ourselves as good people.  We point to the failures and questionable behaviors of others, and compare ourselves favorably to them.  We convince ourselves that we’re better than others, and determine that we are indeed good people deserving of good things.

Yet there are other people in the world who can point to our failures and questionable behaviors, and determine that compared to us, they’re the good people.  And even others can compare themselves to them and come out on top, according to some moral value scale.

But before God, we are all sinners deserving of death and judgment.  Not one of us can stand before God and truthfully claim that we deserve his favor.  We all fall short of his glory.

Yet God responded to our sinfulness by sending his own Son to die for us.  Christ suffered on the cross not because we deserved his sacrifice, but because we needed his grace.

God does not judge us according to some moral value scale; he judges us according to his love.  Not one of us deserves his mercy, but because his goodness exceeds our sinfulness, we have all received it.

Let us pray.  Merciful God, you love us not because of what we do, but because of who you are.  Humble our stubborn hearts, that we may receive your grace as the true gift that it is.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.