A reading from the gospel according to John 3:16-21:
16 God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
18 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-begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.
21 But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Reflection: God’s Love
John 3:16 is perhaps the most famous verse in the bible. It is because it says in one sentence what the whole bible is all about which is God’s love.
God so loved the world. Man and woman were the apex of His creation. Yet they rebelled against Him through disobedience. Because of this, they no longer have the right to live with Him in paradise. Yet, God loves them just the same. He tried to woo them back by sending them prophets but their hardness of heart continued to displease Him. What else can He do? For the sake of love, He must intervene in man’s history if only to prevent him from eternal damnation.
As His last resort therefore, God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to redeem His people. By dying on the cross, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of men and women. Now heaven and earth are once again reconciled. Yet, God respect the freedom He gave to man when He created Him. God loves man but He cannot force man to love Him back. That is why although heaven is open, man still has the choice to enter it or not. Although Jesus died on the cross for his salvation, man still retains the freedom whether or to believe in Him and His offer of salvation.
It is indeed very sad that despite the free offer of salvation, some people refuse to accept it and choose to live in darkness. Yet God’s love does not diminish a bit. He does not stop loving man. Yet the stern warning of condemnation cannot be ignored. Man has to act now or face the consequence of disobedience.