The most profound statement in all of the Gospels and in Christian tradition can be summed up with the reading from John’s gospel today that proclaims “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so everyone who believes in him might have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). The old testament reading from 2 Chronicles chapter 36 reminds us that God’s messengers and prophets were often mocked and despised due to the continuous nature of man’s fall from grace with “infidelity upon infidelity.” From the Assyrian to the Babylonian captivities, one may question how God could allow such atrocities to occur? However, as Psalm 137 verse 6 notes, our tongue should be silenced if we forget the Lord.
The gospel passage from John chapter 3 prepares the way for our Christian call to discipleship. Do we compartmentalize our faith and simply check off certain boxes in life? Are we like the Pharisee Nicodemus whom visits Jesus under the cover of darkness because our fortitude and courage to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior may not be popular or appear to be countercultural by today’s standards? Perhaps, we are like the ancient Israelites who hear the message, but refuse to let it take hold in our hearts? Whatever the case may be, our resolve should be to expose our fragility and brokenness from sin to the light of God. We should commit ourselves daily to strive to live in the light of Christ so that our “works may be clearly seen as done in God” (Jn.3:21).
As our entrance antiphon notes, “Rejoice, Jerusalem” for we are reminded that we our illuminated by His grace and love each and every day, and each moment God gives us on this earth should be one for rejoicing. As Thomas Aquinas once reflected in looking at the dichotomy between being a contemplative to that of our call to apostolic mission, he stated in the Summa Theologiae that it is “better to illuminate than merely to shine…” (ST Ia-IIae, q. 188, a.6). How will we radiate the light of Jesus Christ in our troubled and dark world this day?