Homily by Deacon Jay Ziolkowski

Are you getting tired of Lent yet?  Think about this, If this was the 4th Sunday of Advent, we’d be nearly done with the purple of penitence and preparation.   We would be anticipating the celebration of Christ’s Coming in less than a week–Christmas Eve would be just around the corner! 

But this isn’t Advent.  It’s Lent.  We have a ways to go before the end of our 40-day journey into the wilderness.  There are still two more weeks before we can wave palm branches at our entry into Holy Week.  We have 3 more weeks of fasting and praying and preparing our hearts for Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning. 

“God so loved the world…” God created the world good.  During the creation account in Genesis 1, we are told each day that what God created was good, and Genesis 1 concludes by telling us that God looked at everything He had made, especially man and He found it VERY GOOD. 

We know that God has existed for all time.  God has no beginning and God has no end.  But why did God create man?  Knowing what will happen because of man and that His only begotten Son, had to come to earth, and die on the cross and be resurrected because He loves each and every one of us and gives us eternal life with Him. 

Think of this for one moment:  When God created the world, in that “instant of creation” the seed of the wood of the cross was planted.  God knew what we would do and he did it anyway……… He did it anyway.   God loves each and every one of us completely…warts and all. 

God so loved the world that He gave.  If that is what love means to God, perhaps that is what true love also means to us.  Its first impulse and its highest joy is to give.  The image of Jesus Christ on the cross with His arms wide open is telling each and every one of us that He loves us totally and completely for all time. 

Love is always a two-way street.  It is a mutual process of giving and receiving.  This is even true with God and His relationship with each and every one of us. In the Book of the prophet Hosea God is overheard saying “How can I let you go, O Israel”  Every time I read those lines, I think I can see a tear on God’s cheek and hear a crack in His voice “God so loved that he gave.”  …….And He is still giving.  But He also receives.  The only thing that will be an answer to love is to be loved in return.