God’s Awesome Love: a Maryknoll Lenten Reflection

Reading Time: 3 minutes
By Joseph Thaler, M.M.

Sunday, March 10, 2024
2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23 | Eph 2:4-10 | Jn 3:14-21

Despite what we experience in the world today, the readings challenge us not to despair. The Psalms encourage us to believe that better days are ahead as we move from darkness to light. These experiences can transform us into believers.

In this process of personal transformation, it is helpful to realize how wonderful God’s love is, knowing that God was willing to give his only Son so that we might have eternal life. The unfathomable depth of God’s love is awesome to consider. God sends us his Son to illumine our path in the darkness, especially when we have no sense of direction. I wonder if we can mirror this care for one another and for our world.

This Lenten season, I am reminded of many changes taking place in Nepal and other parts of the world. On my arrival in Nepal in 1977, when it was easy to view the snow-covered Himalayan mountains and drink from the mountain waters that flowed from the north to the south. But that is no longer possible.

The fertile fields around the Kathmandu Valley have been taken over by brick factories and homes and streets and shops are ubiquitous. A valley, once self-supporting, is now dependent on hundreds of trucks that snake the landscape each day, transporting supplies to feed its ever-growing appetite.

Once-fertile village fields that harvested the food for surrounding villages have been washed away and the village population can no longer exist on the meager yields. Due to climate, social, and political instability, many extended families and traditional ways of living are being quickly disbanded and destroyed.

Families become internally displaced, and then, with no other option, move out of Nepal. These newly created refugees begin a journey that could take them any place in the world to survive. But we know that many do not survive. I have witnessed the weeping and sorrows of those who leave and those left behind.

But I have also seen a resilience: a will to continue with the hardships, forged by a desire to experience a better way of life — a life that is lived not only for self, but above all, for another.

This is the flame that burns and excites and drives and will not be extinguished. The Epistle today reminds us of the great love God has for us and how this has saved us. God created us for good works and to love and care for one another as God has loved and cared for us. The readings ask us to share this great gift of God’s love and care with one another and make it our way of living also. So, how do we care for one another and for all of creation? In a suffering and broken world, what am I willing to offer for the sake of another? God so loved the world that he gave us his only the Son. What am I willing to give?

Maryknoll Father Joseph Thaler joined Maryknoll in 1967. For almost five decades, he worked in Nepal, South Asia, where he pioneered skills training programs for women and differently-abled people.

The 2024 Lenten Reflection Guide from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns contains contributions from missioners around the world.

Featured image: Maryknoll Father Joseph Thaler visits a village in Nepal. The missioner served in that country for nearly five decades. (Courtesy of Joseph Thaler/Nepal)

Questions for reflection

Questions for Reflection What is one way you can care for creation by caring for another person?

How might care for nature help another person in your life to experience a better way of life?


Beloved God,
This little moment we would spend with Thee
in gratitude for a lifetime of little moments.

I would thank Thee for Thy Spirit
breathing in me, directing me
Stained glass to follow the flow of Freedom.

I would thank Thee for Thy Promise,
fulfilled in me, assuring me
of Thine abiding Presence.

I would thank Thee for Thy faithfulness
strengthening me, upholding me
in Compassion’s trustworthy arms,

I would thank Thee for Thy Providence
sheltering me, reminding me
of Thine eternal Abundance made available to me.

I would thank Thee for Thy Life,
extended in me,
extended in all Thy children,
each Thine own original creation.

Joan Metzner, M.M.

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About the author

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, based in Washington, D.C., is a resource for Maryknoll on matters of peace, social justice and integrity of creation, and brings Maryknoll’s mission experience into U.S. policy discussions. Visit www.maryknollogc.org.