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Condemnation or Salvation?
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So, what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I come to you with hope in your mercy, gratitude for your love, and openness to be reconciled with you. Help me to believe in the depths of my heart that I am loved and embraced in spite of the sins of my past.
- “I Came into the World as Light”: How wonderful it is to see the light—to have clarity, to know we are seen and loved. The devil sows confusion. He covets darkness and wants to muddle the truth so that we lose clarity and follow him instead of Christ, who is the true light. But Jesus sees us. He knows our every action, and he does not reject us when we’ve done wrong. Rather he comes looking for us as he did Adam and Eve. After they sinned, they felt ashamed and hid, but God went looking for them. He still loved them; he made clothing for them, and gave them other ways to experience his love. He is always seeking us too, so we can experience his love here and now, not just one day in heaven.
- “I Did Not Come to Condemn the World but to Save the World”: Jesus’s presence in the world is salvific. His was not a lavish display of power and glory. It was a humble gift of self for love of mankind, ministering to the sick, needy, and spiritually thirsty. As Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery asking, “Has no one condemned you?” and then affirming, “Neither do I condemn you,” he tells each one of us that he has come not to condemn, but to save. The most horrible thing we’ve done, for which we may feel shame or guilt or that we just don’t measure up, does not push us outside the family circle. God has adopted us as his children. He will always come looking for us and clothe us with the finest garments, placing a ring on our finger and hosting a feast in our honor, just as he did for the prodigal son.
- “So, What I Say, I Say as the Father Told Me”: The message of salvation comes from God, the heavenly Father. The person we may think of with a big white beard, sitting on his lofty throne, casting judgment and condemnation at the slightest infraction of the law is a loving Father wanting us to experience his forgiveness and care. So, he sent Jesus that we might believe in his love. The words of the Gospel are the words of God, the Creator and Redeemer.
Conversing with Christ: How I relish the experience of your strength and protection, living under the gaze of your solicitous care. Give me the grace to break through any barrier that keeps me from accepting and embracing your love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will set aside a time for reconciliation by means of a personal prayer or through the grace of sacramental confession.
For Further Reflection: Catholics Come Home provides some wonderful resources about the Sacrament of Confession.
Written by Renee Pomarico, CRC