by Carla Schommer, Director of St. Francis Convent
John 3:16 is often seen on signs, on billboards, and as a motivational or inspirational quote. It's a message about our Christian faith. God loves us so much he brought us Jesus, and by believing in Jesus we are given eternal life.
This scripture passage is also the opening verse before this Sunday's Gospel. What does it really mean to believe in Jesus? It's tempting to think that believing in Jesus is by affirming the belief statements of the creed and agreeing to the truths that Jesus existed and worked miracles and died and rose from the dead. Accepting these truths are important but there is much more to believing. Even on our best days we have encounters with sin -- in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good.
In the Gospel, John shares a keen observation about human sinfulness: Jesus is the light that has come into the world, but people prefer the darkness.
We stay in the darkness and attempt to hide our sins, even from God. We must come out of the darkness of our lives and into the light of Jesus. Jesus came into the world to reveal our sins so that they may be forgiven. This is Good News! Jesus took our sins and lifted them up through the cross so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life. If our hope is eternal life, we need the revealing light of Jesus each day. To believe in Jesus means nothing less than to make his self-offering love part of our own lives through unselfish, thoughtful concern for others. God has great love for us and shows us mercy that never ends.
Thanks, Carla! You are a light of Jesus.
Beautiful reflection, Carla! So often in our busy lives we forget for awhile what Jesus did for us!
Thank you, Carla, for again reminding me "What does it really mean to believe in JESUS." A good time for this reminder--mid Lent.