By Lynda MacFarland
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
I didn’t realize for a long time that Jesus spoke the words found in the John 3:16 Scripture verse. I’d seen this citation displayed in end zones at football games, both in person and on television, as well as other public places. I knew it was from the New Testament, and of course, I knew it was from the Gospel of John. Yet, I was not tracking, not really thinking about who was saying those words. I guess I always figured it was the Gospel writer himself. I suppose I should be embarrassed to admit that. But it’s true, and for me, once I read those words in context, it made them so much more powerful to me.
What we stand on
Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, engaged in some basic but crucial catechesis. It’s actually Theology 101. Just because it’s basic does not make it any less vital to our lives, to the world, to our salvation. Basic and a fundamental place upon which to build a Christian Catholic faith.
God loved the world that much. Jesus is the example of how to love completely — recklessly, extravagantly — because the good of one’s beloved is the only thing that matters.
Of course, we must think about what the “good” really is for Jesus, which means our everlasting life with His Father. As His followers, that’s what it means for us, too. Jesus is our hope. I think, just as Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” as He informs the Apostle Thomas in John’s Gospel (John 14:6), we could say He is our hope. When we get to that everlasting life with the Father, Jesus will be standing right before our eyes. Though He’s never left us, and we have Him in the Eucharist, then we will see Jesus face to face—hope realized.
Pray slowly the words of John 3:16: For God So Loved the World that He Gave His Only Son. Amen.
Call to Action
Listen attentively at your next Mass for the words the presider prays in the embolism (his words after the Our Father but before the Doxology); he will say the words, “…as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Jesus is our hope!
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