Throughout Lent, we’re sharing excerpts from Lenten Grace, an inspiring journey through the season’s Gospel readings. Check back every Sunday through Easter for a new reading. Also, you can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections at a 20% off. Get it now.
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“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …”
The liturgy proclaims that God sent his Son to redeem us. How hard it is to wrap our minds around this fact! The Creator of the universe loves human beings so much that his Son entered into and endured our human condition, gave his life for us, and will continue to be one of us for all eternity! Mind-boggling. If we start to think about this, the question comes spontaneously: Why?
The age-old answer is still valid. We humans hadn’t gotten it right. We hadn’t taken the natural law implanted in us seriously enough, or at least we were too weak to follow it well. We continued to hurt ourselves and others. Our attitude toward God was skewed. God was someone to fear when nature’s forces were unleashed, or to try to manipulate when we wanted to have our way. God was not someone to love. Yet God had created human beings so that he might enjoy our company, love us, and be loved in return.
Only God could “break through our deafness,” as Saint Augustine would say, and get our attention. Only he could restore the right relationship between him and us. His choice of how to do this was astounding. He became one of us and died for us. “No one has greater love than this” (Jn 15:13). If we let this sink in, the sensational in contemporary life becomes trivial—headlines, films, novels.… Can anything be more sensational than the love of God for the human race?
How can we better appreciate this love? How better know the mind and heart of such a God? Again, there are age-old answers: reading or hearing the Word; praying; trying to live uprightly. As today’s Scripture passage says, “whoever lives the truth comes to the light.” It’s the challenge of a lifetime, and now is the best time to start. “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”
Jesus, help me to understand the love that motivated the Father to send you into the world. It is the same love that compelled you to live and die for me. Show me the relative unimportance of so many other things in my life. Give me a new perspective. Help me to see that coming to know you and the Father is the challenge of a lifetime—a challenge I need to accept here and now, in this Lenten season. Enable me to live the truth, come to your light, and respond wholeheartedly to your love for me.
Contemplatio[W]hoever lives the truth comes to the light.
Download Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections to guide you throughout this lenten season. You can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections at a 20% off. Get it now.