Aside from being Wednesday of Easter Week, we are celebrating St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr. He was born in Krakow, Poland and he is one of the patron saints of Poland.
The main lesson he left with us is “be willing to speak the truth to those in power, even if we might suffer for it.” Something to ponder on…
Let’s now briefly take the Entrance Antiphon “I will look after my sheep…I will appoint a shepherd to pasture them and I, the Lord, will be their God.”
What a statement of reassurance, we will be taken care of by our God, no matter what life brings our way! His loving care will surround us.
This is clearly illustrated in the Reading from Acts, when the apostles were put in jail by the Sadducees in order to prevent them from spreading the “good news.” The Lord was watching over them and at night He sent an angel to open the door of the prison, with the command to “Go and take your place in the temple area and tell the people everything about this life.” Indeed, that is what they did, in defiance to those in power. People began to believe in the good news, so much that the court officers were considerate when they found the Apostles in the temple. “They were afraid of being stoned by the people.”
What a turn of events…the Lord was shepherding His people! Allow me to cite a couple of lines from the Responsorial Psalm, “taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed the man who takes refuge in Him.” How do you feel when you taste, savor, something or someone very special, delightful? Perhaps that is how we should taste and feel the extraordinary love God showers upon us. No words needed, simply savor Him in silence and let Him become part of our entire being.
Now we come upon the Gospel, John 3:16-21. For today’s reflection, let’s focus on John 3:16. This verse may well be considered as a summary of the New Testament, as it is indeed, the Gospel in a nutshell. This verse is really considered “everybody’s text.” And Jesus came to give us the gift of Faith so we can believe in His Gospel.
Sometimes we may picture God the Father as the stern old man with a beard, who keeps track of all our wrongdoings and then we may think that Jesus talked Him into sending Him to suffer for us and save the world…
In reality, this text is telling us that God the Father sent His Son, because He loved us so much. This text shows us that God was acting for our sake, not His. He was not looking to be treated like a King, the Master of the Universe, all He wanted is our love. God the Father will not be happy until his wondering children (and there are plenty of us around,) come home. He does not smash any of us into submission, He lovingly invites us in.
The other aspect we see in this verse is the “width” of the love of God. He is not talking about a city or a country, but the whole world being loved by Him. Every person is included, it does not matter their condition in life, it does not matter if they believe in God or not, if they love God or not. All of us are included in this vast love of God!!! How comforting, how reassuring! As Augustine, a great Doctor of the Church said, “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.”
I invite you to sit with this, go down deep inside yourself and try coming to grips with the way you perceive the love of God for you in your life. How do you savor it…
Will it make a difference on how you live your life from now on...?