JOHN 3:16

Hi everyone – Just getting back from Rome last night, so this week’s homily is written in a bit of a haze that seems to make sense to me, but if there’s some major grammatical mistakes or incomplete thoughts, please excuse them as part of my jet-lagged condition 🙂
We are celebrating the FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT – March 18, 2012. The readings can be found at – http://usccb.org/bible/readings/031812-fourth-sunday-of-lent.cfm

Keep me in your prayers that the jet-lag doesn’t hit in the middle of Mass tonight here on campus! God Bless – Fr. Jim

HOMILY:

John 3:16

You see that on signs at football games all the time… usually the guy with the Clown wig on his head. Or on bumper stickers. Or T-shirts… People do these things hoping that when others see that, it will inspire them to pick up their bibles (or actually GET a bible) and discover what that quote says.
If you’re one of those individuals with a short attention span or an ADD type (like myself) who might have intended to do that and then was fascinated by the play on the field you saw right after you saw that sign or right after you saw the John 3:16 T-shirt you were filled with wrathe after you saw a hateful Boston Red Sox T-shirt and forgot about it or after you saw the John 3:16 bumper sticker, you got cut off by the car that had some bizarre bumper sticker that said something like “My kid can beat up your kid who made the honor roll…” Well, if any of those things happened that made you forget what it was you were supposed to look up, then today’s you’re lucky day.
Because we just heard John 3:16.

If you missed it – here it is again:

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

The reason why people put John 3:16 on al these things is because that sentence is too long to fit on a sign. But more seriously, the reason is because that sentence reveals to us the heart of God, the mission of Jesus Christ and the greatest of hopes that you and I have as Christians.

-That we don’t believe in some pagan-type of god, who acts arbitrarily for their own amusement…that we need to make some bizarre sacrifices too in the hopes of appeasing it so it won’t smote us or disfavor us.

– That we don’t have a god who threw this creation into existence, sort of like a “Big Bang Theory” god – and then he has nothing more to say or do with us.

– That we don’t have a god that we must live in fear of or feel unworthy of approaching…

In Jesus Christ all of those theories, those beliefs are forever shattered. Because God so loved the world… God so loved you and me… God so loved everyone of us who lives and moves (which make sense, since He made us all) that he is constantly rooting for us, reaching out to us, seeking us, coming to us in His son Jesus Christ all with that deeply rooted hope and desire in His Heart (just pause there – that we’re hitting the deepest desire of the Heart of God) that after seeing all the illusions, the passing fads, the broken promises of a world that offers us “happiness” that at best is fleeting (and at worst makes us anything BUT happy) we will make that essential, life-altering, life-giving decision to Believe in Him…. to Follow Him… in the here and now as we’re constantly challenged with decisions and choices that reflect whether we’re truly living for him or someone else all the way into spending an eternity with Him.

No wonder the people who put John 3:16 on signs at football games, on their T-shirts, on their bumper stickers do so. They realize how blessed they are to receive this good news they want to make sure that everyone of their brothers and sisters (that’s all of us – if we believe God is our Father, then we’re all brothers and sisters) aren’t just “aware” of it – but are reminded of this passage and come to see why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is called “good news.”

As good as all of those marketing techniques are, an even more effective way of sharing this message is if the message of John 3:16 becomes inscribed on our hearts, communicated by our lives – drawing the rest of the world to know the love of God that’s been given in Jesus Christ. That’s not just good marketing, it reveals a people who know how radically they are loved by God, and can’t help but communicate it with their very lives.

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