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How Much Does God Love Us?
Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten 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. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, you desire that I might know you–that all people might know you–and welcome the salvation you so lovingly offer. I believe in your mercy. Let me begin this time of prayer from that place in your heart where you are salvation and closeness and mercy. How I need you to speak these truths in my life today! I trust in you, Lord, and I love you. Let me enter this time of prayer with you.
- Timeless Truth: Is there a passage from the Gospels more well-known or loved than this one, John 3:16? Reading this today, whether it strikes a deep chord or seems to slide off the back in trite repetition, let us ask the Lord to reveal this truth in a new, personal way. His word is life-giving, penetrating, and able to discern the thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). He knows us more deeply than we know ourselves, and desires that we might have life, that we might share in his life. May this truth touch any shadows of doubt and darkness in our hearts today.
- This Love: “This is one of the central verses of the Gospel,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says in the homily of November 4, 2010.. He says, “The subject is God the Father, origin of the whole creating and redeeming mystery. The verbs ‘to love’ and ‘to give’ indicate a decisive and definitive act that expresses the radicalism with which God approached man in love, even to the total gift, crossing the threshold of our ultimate solitude, throwing himself into the abyss of our extreme abandonment, going beyond the door of death.” How radical, indeed, is the love with which God draws near to us. Do we pause often enough to consider that he offers us his whole self–he who can be neither measured nor contained–if only we will accept his love?
- This Light: Christ affirms that the light has already come into the world. The question is not whether he will come, but rather whether we will choose to receive the light. Benedict continues, “God does not domineer but loves without measure. He does not express his omnipotence in punishment, but in mercy and in forgiveness.” This, he says, is what it means to enter this saving mystery. “Jesus came to save, not to condemn; with the sacrifice of the cross he reveals the loving face of God.” Let us not be afraid to let the Lord draw us to himself, though it means taking up our cross beside him and letting him bind our crosses to his own.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you have come to reveal your Father’s love and to give me life by your Spirit. You wait at the door and knock (Revelation 3:20), and sometimes I don’t hear you knocking—or maybe sometimes I do, but I don’t want to open. Today, Lord, open my heart to this truth of your love and light which you come to proclaim. May your words bring healing to my heart today.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to make a Spiritual Communion at some point during my busy day to deepen my understanding of this passage of your Gospel.
For Further Reflection: You may wish to spend some time in prayer with this song, No Other Heart, by the RC Music Collective, which beautifully expresses the truth of the love of God for us.
Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid and Valencia, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families and young people she’s there to serve.
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