Gospel – John 3:16-18

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.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Reflection on Sunday Gospel

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God…

Today’s Gospel passage is very familiar, as some people continue, at public events, to hold signs with the citation, John 3:16. On this Trinity Sunday, it is beautiful to be reminded both that God loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world and that we have been reassured that, if we believe in Jesus, we will have eternal life.

Trinity Sunday has a special place in the lives of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It was on this very Feast, back in 1686, that De La Salle and his Brothers pronounced vows for the first time. What a significant moment in the historical development of the mission as these Brothers committed themselves to it. Surely, it was not easy in those early years for these foundational Lasallians. Insecurity, undisciplined students, poverty, ridicule, and disrespect were some of the professional and life issues they faced, but they made a commitment together for a mission that was desperately needed at that time in France.

This Lasallian mission is still desperately needed in our era. Surely it is still not easy to be an educator in these times. While we give thanks for the blessing of this Lasallian vocation, including the challenges of teaching minds and touching hearts today, let us pause to consider these two questions:  What are the challenges that you face in your ministry? How does this commitment back in 1686 inspire you today?

In his closing comments at the 45th General Chapter, Brother Robert Schieler, Superior General, concluded by asking, “What are we going to do for the educational mission in the 21st Century?” He answered the question with the help of De La Salle’s word, interpreted by Brother Michel Sauvage, “Since it is the work of God that you are doing, do it with enthusiasm and bring to it all the resources of your talents, your gifts, and your inspirations… Since you are ministers of Jesus Christ, be resolved to live in imitation of Christ… This will help you all to understand that all the difficulties you experience – the difficulties in maintaining the gratuities of the schools, the difficulties in changing the character of the schools, the difficulties in overcoming inertia and traditional patterns of thought, the difficulties that often turn into outright persecution – all of these are expressions of the paschal mystery, of a life that grows out of your suffering…”

Suffering is part of every life: personal, familial, Lasallian. As we pause with today’s Gospel, let us be reassured and full of hope, even with the sufferings that are part of life. May John 3:16-18 color our reflection on the year gone by and as we begin to prepare for the next academic year. Yes, God continues to love us that much.

St. John Baptist de La Salle … Pray for Us!
Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever!

Br. Dennis Lee, FSC