Sunday 4 June 2023
Jn 3:16-18

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
(John 3:16-18)

John tells us of a special encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus the Pharisee who, having been touched by the words spoken and signs done by the Master, decides to meet Him. A dialogue breaks out between the two, on the need to be born, or reborn, of water and the Spirit, then leading to Jesus speaking of the love of God.

It’s the first time that the verb ‘to love’ appears in this Gospel. In Greek (the language of John’s Gospel), the concept of love is expressed with three different identifiers:
Eros, referring to sensual love, focussed on personal satisfaction;
Philos, a love based on a free friendship relationship between equals, focussed on mutual benefit;
Agape, the love which becomes self-offering, ie. charity – your well-being is more important than mine.
God’s love for the world is exactly this type – agape, a love going as far as giving His only begotten Son. It is a personal love: God doesn’t love en masse, or a crowd. Instead, He loves and relates to each one of us personally. Our Creator has made us in His own image. Not like robots and not by chance, but each one of us according to a design of love. Sin is the lie that makes us feel that God doesn’t exist, or is distant from us!

It is an unconditional love: God is Love and is unable to do anything other than love, without conditions! Just as He manifested Himself to Moses in that burning bush: a fire of love, a fire of compassion, a fire of mercy, a fire which is never consumed. Often, even in religious people, the current mentality often makes us think that God doesn’t love me because I’m not good or holy. But the love of God doesn’t depend on us, but on Him! He is the One that takes the initiative to love you, independently in His love. He wants the best for you, because He is FATHER!

So let’s free our mind and our heart from any mistaken image of God: God is Love. He didn’t send His Son to judge, but to save and to reconcile…
Despite everything, what sustains and maintains the world is the love of God!

Fr. Giuseppe