These passages describe God’s forgiving nature, his openness to the plights of mankind, and his guiding people to recognize Christ as his representative. Lent is a time of reflection and absolution of one’s sins; however, the forgiving of sins is only accomplished through faith in the Lord and acceptance of Christ’s words as those of God. These three passages poignantly speak to elements of the Lenten “contemplative process.”
In Psalm 102, the Lord’s sensitive side is highlighted through his respect for the prayers of the less fortunate and their needs. He also is responsive to the sufferings of prisoners and dying individuals. The Lord, unlike other religious deities, is a God who reaches to the worshipers equally as the worshipers come to the Lord.
Numbers illustrates God’s wrath and subsequent forgiving nature. God punishes the people for their ingratitude through fiery serpents, but then delivers forgiveness through the serpent staff that Moses creates upon God’s order. The Lenten period is similar: People sin, then reflect and ask God’s forgiveness. The modern day “serpents” represent our guilty consciences and remorse.
Finally, in John, Christ delineates the realm he has come from, then contrasts it to the world the Jews originated from. This passage clearly affirms that Christ is the vicarious embodiment of God and emphasizes the importance of having faith in God and Christ’s words — the same faith that allows us to bring closure to the Lenten “contemplative process.”