“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12: 25-26)

The Lenten Season invites Christians to engage in disciplined prayer and reflection on the meaning, purpose, and mission of our lives as creatures of God. As a community, the church is called to journey in the wilderness of its alienation, to endure and overcome temptations, to recognize and rely on God’s mercy, and to be guide by the Spirit to renewed relationships with God and one another. The Lenten journey is a call to follow Jesus’ example, one of sacrificial love for the sake of the other. The Lenten season is an opportunity to move beyond ourselves towards others, in particular those relegated at the margins in our society and world. According to the Gospel of John, a Lenten journey includes three dominant themes: repentance, obedience, and sacrificial love.

Repentance stipulates an acknowledgement of personal responsibility not only for personal sins but also for the state of affairs in society and the world. While most people don’t like to admit shortcomings, Lent reminds us that we are responsible in one way or another for the failures in our personal lives, in our relationships, in society, and in the world. We need not to be culprits; our passivity, inertia, neutrality, and silence perpetuate devastations – personal and communal. Lent is a journey where we acknowledge our creatureliness, vulnerability, and inability. Hence, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Admitting our creatureliness and failure constitute an indispensable move towards repentance, forgiveness, healing, and transformation.

Obedience supposes following rules, accepting authority, and acquiescing to another. People dislike being obedient because obedience is a sign of giving in freedom. Yet, obedience implies our unpretentiousness and dependence on a higher authority. It imparts the fact that we are not meant to lord over ourselves, others, and creation. Practicing obedience means recognizing God’s sovereignty and authority in our lives, churches, neighborhoods, and the world. Our obedience to God and God’s divine project incorporates not only submitting to God’s commandments but also embodying God’s messianic project in our own homes, churches, societies, and the world. Sin is our disobedience, that is unwillingness to recognize God’s sovereignty over all creation. Repentance and obedience are intertwined. Lent invites us to relinquish our control and authority and to acknowledge and practice God’s sovereignty in our lives. Jesus’ obedience unto death, even the death on the cross delineates his surrender to God’s authority and project for the salvation of the world. Our obedience flows from our relationship to the One who obeyed, that is, recognized God’s sovereignty over life and death.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus demands radical love, one that transforms souls and societies. To be a disciple of Jesus, one needs to embrace Jesus’ offer: “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  At the heart of the Johannine Jesus is the death of Jesus, an act of freedom for the sake of love. Jesus’ death on the cross was Jesus free choice out of his radicle love for God and God’s world. Jesus’ giving of his life is the fullest expression of his love, a radical love that knows no limits. To follow Jesus means to love as Jesus loves, to love without boundaries. To love one's life places one outside the community and outside God’s mission for the world. To love one's life therefore leads inevitably to the loss of any possibility of genuine life with God. To hate one's life in this world is not an appeal for a renunciation of life, but an appeal to renounce life shaped by individualism, self-centeredness, and self-interestedness, but to embrace the life of love that leads us toward others, in particular those who have not been loved enough because of their race, sex, nationality, religious affiliation, or social and economic aptitudes. Jesus teaches us that the world will be judged in its response to Jesus’ call to love without limits, to love to the end. 


Lord of all authority, mercy, and love. We acknowledge our failure to obey your will and to recognize your sovereignty. We repent for all our shortcomings, including our passivity, inertia, neutrality, and silence in the face of devastations. We beseech your holy and loving Spirit to guide us in the ways of Love and to empower us to follow the example of Jesus who loved us to the end and gave his life for our salvation. Amen.