No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
The Gospel today contains one of the most famous Christian quotes: “God loved the world so much that he sent his only son …”. It contrasts this amazing love with the reaction of people who had seen who Jesus was, but turned their backs on him and refused to believe it.
This weekend, we celebrate Mothering Sunday. This day didn’t start out as something to sell more cards and chocolates between Christmas and Easter, but as a day to celebrate the love within families. On the fourth Sunday of Lent, children working away as servants or farm labourers were given a day off to go home and visit their family, and their mother-church. They’d take their mums a bunch of wilted wildflowers, and a simnel cake would be baked for the family, to celebrate being back together, parents and children. (Have a go at baking one).
Let’s think again about how much love it would take for a parent to put their only child – or any one of their children – at risk. It’s unimaginable – unless the people that child is sent to rescue are equally beloved sons and daughters.
That kind of love has to be returned. We all talk quite a bit about loving God, but it’s not much use if it’s just talk. We can’t get God a card or a bunch of flowers, so what can we do to show our love?
We can show a bit more patience and kindness to each other. We can do more to care for the world God created for us. We can make more effort to do things to help the poor, the sick, the old, and anyone in need – even if they’re small things. God loves every one of us equally. He wants us to trust him, and to love each other, like brothers and sisters in the same family.
Salesian Communications Worker
Don’t let me forget the tremendous love you have for me.
Remind me that you love others just as much,
even the people who get on my nerves,
and the ones I disagree with.
I know you created me to spread your love in the world
but sometimes, that’s quite hard.
Help me through those times.
Bring me closer in love to you,
and to my brothers and sisters.