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.”
Reflection: This passage from chapter three of John’s gospel comes at the end of the beautiful and significant discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit. This chapter also includes the renowned 3:16, For God so loved the world… Later, John the Baptist, after acknowledging again that Jesus is, “The One” says “He must increase; I must decrease.” Today’s gospel summarizes this chapter by emphasizing that God sent Jesus to us, He speaks for the Father, and He offers us eternal life.
Isn’t it amazing when Jesus speaks his words are so dense and profound that we continue to study, ponder, and search their meaning? This is why we as Deacons feel such a great responsibility and unworthily, an honor to share our thoughts and feelings regarding Sacred Scripture. So, as we reflect, together, let us decrease from the distractions and trappings of this world and increase in our awareness of God’s gift of His only Son.
Our journey with Jesus is not much different in that we too struggle to believe at times that he came to us and that he offers us the gift of eternal life. Although we benefit from more than two thousand years of experience with the risen Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit we still doubt. One big question may be what is eternal life. It is not simply living without ever dying. Wouldn’t that be a tedious and possibly uninteresting proposition? And does eternal life begin when our bodies cease to function? No, eternal life for each of us begins when we are born into this world. The life that Jesus brings to us from the Father is a life that includes the grace, love, mercy, and joy of being with the author of life itself. Our baptism and our answer to the call to live in the Spirit makes it possible for Him, the bridegroom to increase in such a way that we do not have to wait until we die to experience eternal life. He is risen. He is present. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have existed for all of eternity. Let our lives reflect our yes to this generous and holy offer to be in his presence always.
Action of the Day: Ponder the meaning of eternal life. Not time without end but existing without the prison of time. Knowing that we will never “not” be in the presence of God. How would not worrying about time affect you? Now go and share this good news by ministering to someone without looking at or fretting about time.