Homily by Father Paul Wharton (UNDELIVERED)
[It has been said:]
- “When a person works an eight hour day and receives a fair days pay for his or her time, that is a wage.
- When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his or her performance, that is a prize.
- When a person receives appropriate recognition for long service or high achievements that is an award.
- But when a person not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award nevertheless receives all three that is a good picture of God’s favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.”
John 3:16 is sometimes called “the little Bible,” for it sums up much of the message of the Bible. It seems to me that it teaches us at least four things.
- First, it tells us about God — that God loves — that at the very heart and character of God is love. There are many ways we talk about God — all knowing, all powerful, infinite, eternal — but the greatest and best way to speak about God is this: God is love. And not just any kind of love, but the highest form of love which is self-giving and self-sacrificing. Indeed God gave God’s very best — his only Son.
- Second, this passage lets us know about just who God loves. God loves the world. God’s love is INclusive, not EXclusive. So often when we way we love, it is exclusive, choosing only family and friends, those who look like us and believe what we believe. But not so with God’s love. God loves the world.
- Third, John 3:16 also teaches us that God’s purpose is to give us eternal life. True love always wants what is best for the beloved. God wants us to have eternal life, happiness, and peace with God for ever. As sinful and badly behaved as we humans often are, God loves and what to share this grace with us.
Finally, this passage tells us that this promise is for “whoever believes.” Now there’s the rub.
- Do we really believe in God?
- Do we have a relationship with God?
- If we were charged by a court of law with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
- Will we let God’s love flow into our lives and make us his servants?
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life.”
- LISTEN to this good news!
- BELIEVE it!
- LIVE it!