Gospel – John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
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.
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.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Reflection by Br. Michael Andrejko, FSC
Believing is such a very basic, yet easily misunderstood part of our faith. When we add the concept of believing to that of the truth, that can get even muddier for the human mind to wrap our finite heads around. Yet, that is the point of today’s Gospel. To believe in the truth despite the many difficult things that surround our everyday lives. Not too long from now, we will read the Passion Narrative, and once again Pontius Pilate won’t get what the meaning of truth is. He will once again remind us that we too often get caught up in our everyday lives with power, money, social prestige, and the like and forget there is a bigger picture in life, the coming of the Kingdom of God as presented to us and lived by Jesus where the love of God’s unfailing constant love is available to us.
When I was at Bethlehem University in the West Bank, there was this aura of belief that you do not normally find in our everyday lives in the Western World. The University is 80% Muslim and 80% women. One might think: “What business does someone from the Christian, Catholic, western world have in being there?” One thing that I learned quickly is many believe in the God we worship in the western world. Not only is their belief evident in just about everything they do, they are not afraid to talk about it, wrestle with its many concepts across different religions and ethnic groups, but are willing to learn and grow from it. I often thought that they are definitely not hiding it, refuting it, or denying its existence.
That is a great reason for hope.
They are not blind to the many injustices that we humans place on each other every day. They live the limited physical movement, and right to have an education, right to human existence every day of their lives. Despite all this, they still believe that things can change for the better. It was a great source of growth and strength for me to be around people who automatically accepted me as one of their own from the beginning. It challenged me to be a better human being, a better Brother.
Questions for Reflection
- So maybe something to be with this week may be: how do we — how do you, how do I — let ourselves be shaped by the universal truths of the Gospel like loving our neighbor as ourselves?
- Give freely of our time, talents, and money to those who need it the most?
- Accept others as they are, and not how we wish them or want them to be? Like belief and truth, it is not easy to get our heads around, but when we live it, oh how it changes ourselves and others for the better.
Thanks for these reflections – reminiscent of the messages in Fratelli Tutti and the call to ‘speak the truth in love.’
Thank you Brother Michael for reminding us that we can and must bloom and grow right where we are. And too, that it is good to accept each other for who they are. Maybe even try accepting ourselves. God bless you.