For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…
Day 26: Fourth Sunday of Lent – John 3:16
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.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
You see the sign everywhere — held up at football games, written on athletes faces, nailed to telephone poles, carried on placards, etc. The sign simply states: “3:16.” Without asking, without googling it, we know exactly what it means. Our Spirit is instantly moved because deep down we know the power behind those three numbers. The passage from today’s Gospel, John 3:16, speaks our truth in 135 characters. Yes, we can say a lot in just a handful of characters and “3:16” proves that. There are many other passages throughout Scripture that convey the ultimate gift God has given to us, but this one continuously captures the hearts and minds of people all over the world. What is it about this particular verse that grabs us all so powerfully? Well, when we unpack it, it becomes obvious. In this one verse we have the incarnation, God’s gift to mankind, but so much more. God not only sent His only begotten Son, but sent Him as one of us, to live life on earth, with the sole purpose to save us. And, for our part, all we have to do is believe. Take up our cross in faith and follow Him. It is no wonder these words, these numbers, appear so often and have changed so many lives. A message too important not to share and too powerful not to transform.
Day 26 Lenten Meditation
When was the last time you saw “3:16” posted somewhere? Did anything run through your mind when you saw it? Was it a good reminder for you or did you roll your eyes as if to say, “I don’t need a reminder of what my Savior did for me”? Were you too busy to even notice? Or perhaps you wondered who posted it and why? Next time you see it, pay attention. God could very well be trying to get your attention in that moment. Pause for a minute or two and think about what the words of John 3:16 mean for your life. Make note of how it influences your behavior, your choices, or your attitude that day. Make no mistake, whenever and wherever you see “3:16” … it is not a coincidence.
Heavenly Father, You sent Your Only Begotten Son to free us from sin and death. Help us to better understand today the expression: “May we die with Him so that we may also rise with Him.” Oh Incarnate God, forgive us for not taking the necessary time to reflect on the enormity of Your gift to us — redemption, salvation and eternal life. Even though we did nothing to earn it, You did all this out of love for us. Help us to be worthy stewards of Your love and Your message in the world. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
*Prayerfully meditate on John 3:16 for an uninterrupted 5 minutes. Then, tell God why you are grateful for Him.
“The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise” –Saint Clement.