God so loved the world that he gave his only Son

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.

John 3:16-18

It is not uncommon to see posters and signs at sporting events or in other public places with “John 3:16” written in big letters. In this verse, St. John proclaims the essence of the “Good News,”: 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.”

The world that God created was good. There was order, harmony, peace. It bursted with life and emanated beauty. Why? Because it was the expression and “work” of God. God handed over to man a perfect creation, and gave him stewardship of it. But man turned from God, and rebelled against Him. This rebellion is called sin. Because God had entrusted the entire created order to man, when man “fell,” so did all of creation. Separated from God, who is life, mankind and all of creation became destined for death.

In this reading St. John witnesses to the mystifying mercy of God. The Father Creator sends forth His Son, who becomes man to redeem mankind and all of creation. Through Jesus, all who believe are liberated from the unavoidability of death. There is no life apart from God. By uniting Himself to humanity, and by sacrificing Himself to repair the damage of men’s sins, Jesus restores the gift of eternal life to mankind. By sending forth the Holy Spirit to form the Church and mystically unite each believer to the Church, God offers all men and women of all times, the salvation accomplished through Jesus Christ.

Reflection

This world is passing away. We are surrounded by sickness, sin, death and destruction, yet we have hope. For those who believe in Jesus, who are baptized in the Spirit and strengthened and healed in the sacraments, there is eternal life, and nothing and no one can take that away from us.

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