The Gospel according to John (3:31-36)
The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for these several days of reflection on the themes you revealed first to Nicodemus. May I draw grace and inspiration from my time of prayer today.
Encountering Christ: When you walk through the front door of your house or any building do you expect it to collapse on top of you? How about when you start your car, do you expect that it will begin to fall apart like in the cartoons where you are left with nothing but a seat and a steering wheel in your hands? No, we trust the builders of the homes and cars. If you think about it, we trust them with our very lives.
In today’s Gospel we hear of the contrast between earthly things and from above. This is not an unfamiliar topic. There are other places in Holy Scripture where this contrast is specifically identified. We have a tendency of getting caught up in our earthly existence. We marvel at our creations, tall buildings, immense bridges, complex and sophisticated communities, complexes, etc., let alone all the other medical, scientific, and additional fields where man has overcome and excelled in creating things. We also are in awe of how much we have advance in our sophisticated ways, culture, and human anthropology. We are an advance civilization without limits, so it seems.
The Celebration of Easter should have reminded us that all our accomplishments mean nothing if we do not believe in the risen Christ. Nothing we have done or could ever do that can provide us with what we most need in our brief lives. We must put our trust in the one who comes from above. We must accept his testimony that certifies that God is trustworthy. If we trust the builders of our homes, cars, etc. why do we struggle, at times with trusting God.
Again, we get caught up in what we can do collectively and individually. We get to the point where we convince ourselves that we are in control and that we are the author of our own lives. How misguided and dangerous! Our lives, even if we live to our 80’s or 90’s is not that long. When we are born our march to our physical mortality begins. In our lifetime we put our trust in many people and things. And rightly so. For those whom we love and the things that surround us are often reliable and worthy of this trust. But one day we will all be called to meet our true creator. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that moment would simply be a continuation of the trust we had in God in our lives up to then? That, at the moment of our death, our trust was that our merciful and loving God would take into consideration a life, that while not perfect, was filled with moments of love and mercy that we shared with as many people as we could. That we trusted God to provide us with the grace we needed to serve Him and others without fear of running out of resources.
The one who comes from above does not ration the Spirit. We can never out give God. We always receive more than we give. How can this be if not for a generous God who sent his only son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Do we trust God with out eternal lives more that we trust people with our earthly lives?
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, may the distractions of our earthly lives not rob us of the opportunities to trust in your merciful goodness. May we receive the grace you so generously give us and share your love and mercy so others may trust in your loving kindness.
Action for the Day: Ask God, in prayer, study, or in any moment where you are aware of His presence for the grace to surrender the things of earth so we can trust God with this life and the one that will take us home to eternal life.