John 3:16- 21
Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus contains one of the most beautiful statements about God’s love found in the scriptures. How can we ever get tired of hearing that God loved the world so much that Jesus came to our world to walk among us as one of us? What an extraordinary and precious gift. God’s intention is that we will share in God’s own life for eternity, fully immersed in God’s love. Sadly, this is not always the path that humanity takes and the readings for today reflect on that reality. What can surprise us is that God respects our freedom to choose, even when that means that we don’t walk in the light.
When Jesus was presented in the Temple in Luke 2:34 Simeon proclaimed that he would be destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel and a sign that would be spoken against. The opposition that Jesus experienced continues in the life of the first Christian communities in Acts of the Apostles. The disciples were opposed and imprisoned by the religious authorities because they preached that Jesus is God’s beloved Son and Messiah. Today the authorities attempt to muzzle that proclamation but God has other plans – the message of Jesus will not be silenced. We have freedom to choose and act, but God does too. God has the most unexpected ways and means to open doors and possibilities in the face of sometimes fierce resistance and misunderstanding. Christians of every age can encounter resistance and it requires fortitude and courage to remain faithful not losing heart in such times knowing that God’s love will always find a way.
Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.