A reading of the holy Gospel according to John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
REFLECTION: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
This is a day of celebration with flowers on the altar, rose colored vestments and maybe more music in celebration that Easter is almost here. We rejoice for what awaits us.
But, as I walk through the wilderness that I have chosen to journey, I realize that I might not reach the destination as well as I should. I want to have eternal life; however, I am painfully aware of my humanity, my weaknesses and my failures.
Is Lent about if I am able to stop eating meat or desserts? After all losing a few pounds has some ulterior motives. Or is it letting God recreate me with Him living in me. Have I prayed, fasted and given to the poor more than before or do I go through the motions but no one can see a new me? Have my own deeds or sins displeased me enough to give up evil for good? Do I recognize that I am sick and need to confess my sins to God so that I can become new?
Sin puts me in danger of death. St Augustine wrote that "God accuses your sins: and if you also accuse them, you are united to God". He goes on to say that if we do not observe the orders of the physician (Jesus who came to save us), "You will not be saved by Him; you shall be judged of yourself ". However, if I turn in faith to Him who died for my sake my new life has begun. "For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17) * (St Benedict 2012 homily)
We line up at stadiums for the Covid vaccine; let's line up for confession.
We drive far for a good restaurant; let's drive to church and attend mass.
We form new associations, new friends because we are still seeking; spend silence with Jesus in His resurrected body in adoration. Listen to Him.
God bless you.