John 3:16 and beyond

I’ve not been in a reflective mood of late. But, Sunday, I was back at mass at St. Mary’s and, as happens on most Sundays, the homily caused me to stop and reflect.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

Fr. Jack said the homily was still in the making. He got stuck at the word “gave” and proceeded to reflect on the gift – the gift of God’s Son. But through the weekend (I was at the last english mass), he had asked for reflections from the congregation… and so the homily grew.

“It’s not fully a gift until it is received.”

“A gift doesn’t have to be a thing – sometimes it’s a comment. Sometimes it’s just letting someone know that you are thinking of them.” (that from a 15 year old).

“He gave His Son – even to the point of giving him up to death. That has to be one of the hardest things for a parent to do.” (This from an oncology nurse, who has lost a child of her own.)

But, one that hit closest to home for me was the observation that John 3:16 is followed by John 3:17 – that’s the part that gets skipped… For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…

If Jesus didn’t condemn, I’d better be careful about my own judging and condemning. If Jesus doesn’t condemn, then when I judge others harshly and condemn them, I am not walking with Him. And, I am so good at lying to myself about the times I do that. When I am angry with someone because they didn’t live up to my hopes and expectations it seems that I try to convince myself that I am not judging. But I am. I’m holding that person up to my standards and my expectations and finding them lacking. Condemnation.

Better I should simply love them where they are. Not so easy. But definitely easier than being judge and jury.

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