When the camera scans the crowd at football or baseball games, often times there will be at least one person in the crowd holding up a sign that reads: John 3:16 “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.” These words, taken from this weekend’s Gospel, remind us that our God loves us so much that God gave form and flesh to that love in the human person of Jesus Christ. More than this, though, God’s love is so great that God wants to share that love with us not just in this life, but in eternal life. This love is offered to us freely, completely and without hesitation or qualificaiton. It is a love that is beyond belief and without reason.
I believe the message of God’s undeserved, unending and immeasurable love for us is one that we can’t hear too often. I say this because there are many people who want to limit the embrace of God’s love to a chosen few, or who would have you believe that somehow we need to earn God’s love. Both of these ideas are fundamentally wrong. God loves us as we are, simply because we are. There are no limits to God’s love. And the only barrier to God’s love is the hardness of our own hearts. God never forces God’s love on us. It is offered freely and willingly. We only have to accept it. And whoever accepts God’s love does the works of God and is given the promise of eternal life.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the second Book of Chronicles. It tells how the priests and the people of Judah had turned away from God, despite the fact that “Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.” Because of their infidelity, God allowed them to be conquered and led into captivity in Babylon.
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians. In it Paul reminds the Ephesians, and us, that God is rich in mercy and that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- When have you felt God’s love in your life?
- When have you refused to accept and live in God’s love?
- What would you say to someone who tried to tell you that you that God’s love was limited to a chosen few, or that you had to earn God’s love.
St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Coin Banks are available in the church throughout Lent. Your financial gifts truly make a difference in people’s lives and 100% percent of every dollar you donate goes back to help someone in need locally. During Lent, please take a coin bank, fill it, and bring it back on Holy Thursday.
Last year alone, your donations to SVdP Ministry:
- Helped 286 families keep their housing and prevented them from homelessness.
- Provided bus cards or gas vouchers to more than 4,000 people to help them get to work, school, or appointments.
- Offered a meal and practical and spiritual support to 900 participants in our Pathways life-skills programs.
More information on our St. Vincent de Paul Ministy.