Living the Gospel – March 14, 2021

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“For God still Loves the World”

Sometimes I look at all that’s happening in our world today and wonder how God can remain so faithful in his love for us. We, ourselves, tend to vacillate in our way of love; we tend to be loving and kind one moment but angry and judgmental the next. God’s love, however, is eternal and constant; even in his anger he will set things right for our benefit.

In the second Book of Chronicles, we read the history of God’s dealing with his people. We read: “the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple.” Yet, in his fatherly love, God sends prophets to warn his people; but they scoffed at and mocked God’s messengers until God knew the only way to set things right for his chosen ones was through chastisement. Ultimately Jerusalem was destroyed and those who weren’t killed were carried off to live for seventy years in Babylonian captivity as servants. Did God simply withhold his love from his people? Absolutely not, this was a much needed cleansing; a just purification by a loving parent. Just as radical surgery removes a cancer that can kill us, so too, the removal of sin can save us from the eternal loss of our souls. In due time, Jerusalem is restored and God’s chosen return to their homeland, for God is consistently faithful to his people.

In our second reading, St. Paul tells us “By Grace you have been saved.” “And this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” By his own conversion, Paul knew the immensity of God’s love. Paul knew that in his mercy, God draws near to the imperfect soul, no matter what state that soul is in. After all, it was Paul (Saul) who persecuted and murdered the followers of God’s own son.

In today’s Gospel of John, we read: “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” In Mel Gibbon’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, the torture and brutality of the crucifixion is on full display. So, what motivates the All-Perfect and All-Good God to come running toward a people so vastly imperfect, faulty and broken? It is an unfathomable love and we can taste its sweetness or spit it from our mouths by our own choice, but God’s love is a love that never fails, even when we do.

Sylvia Bates