For God so loved the world that He gave us John 3, verse 16, the most famous of all Bible verses, which sums up the meaning of life and of the world, in one sentence.
And God so loved the world that He not only gave John 3:16 as a written sentence, but also as a living reality. God loves the world so much that he gives His Son now. We share in His Trinity-ness even now, by the exercise of our religion.
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. (from the gospel at today’s Holy Mass)
At the beginning of today’s Mass, we acknowledged that God provided us with Pope St. Pius V so that, among other things, we might “offer more fitting worship.”
Like the pope saints canonized this past Sunday, Pope St. Pius V led the Church in the wake of an ecumenical council. Like Vatican II, the Council of Trent aimed at reforming the Church and re-focusing the sacred ministers and the faithful on the fundamentals, the essentials of the Catholic religion.
Certainly our Liturgy ranks as the most fundamental of all the fundamentals, the most essential of all the essentials. And isn’t the worship of the Catholic Church really our united celebration of the truth of John 3:16?
If I might, let me quote the Catechism:
Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father…When applied to man, the word ‘blessing’ means adoration and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving. From the beginning until the end of time, the whole of God’s work is a blessing…In the Church’s liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings…The Church, united with her Lord, …blesses the Father ‘for his inexpressible gift’ in her adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. (CCC 1078-1083)
God so loved us, that He chose us to celebrate His blessing, week in and week out, in church. For His glory. For the salvation of our souls.
And for the sake of keeping the door open to all our neighbors–to keep it open, so that they, too, might share in this great blessing and this most-salutary of all celebrations: the living, breathing expression of John 3:16, the Sacred Liturgy of the Church.
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…
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:16-19)
“This is the verdict.”
Can it be a co-incidence that when we come to church this week, when our national airwaves are full of justice finally being done on our enemy, we hear the most famous verses of the Bible, and one of the verses is: “This is the verdict.”
Verdict. Verum dictum. True word.
The truth harries a man who has done evil. We can run; we can blind ourselves; we can fill our heads with noise to provide a distraction. But the truth will not go away. The truth waits. It is patient. He is patient.
Christ came as the light of the world. He came to restore us to our original dignity. The dignity of man is to be a flute that harmonizes with the divine orchestra in a springtime fantasia. The dignity of man is to abide in peace with everything that is beautiful and true.
But Christ is patient about shining His light of truth. He let His life be snuffed out by evil men.