Lectio Divina 2020-06-05

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday correspond to the Holy Trinity Sunday Year A. John 3:16-18 “God so loved the world!”

One

The words ‘whoever believes in him’ made me think what a great God we have. He gave us free will to decide whether to listen and believe in Jesus. Whoever means all of mankind. Background doesn’t matter to the Lord. Rich, poor,black or white. Jesus mixed with all different kinds of people. Whoever you are, wherever you are doesn’t matter to God. The only thing that matters is to believe in Jesus. If we do this not only does he become our friend he becomes our saviour.

Two

Lectio John 3 v 16

This verse sums up how wonderful God is.

God loves you and me so much that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to be born on earth and to die on a cross.

There is nothing I can do to make me “ good enough “ to go to heaven.

But God made a way. Christ lived a perfect, blameless life and provided the perfect sacrifice for my sins. He died in my place.

It’s only by God’s grace, His undeserved mercy that I can have eternal life with Him in heaven.

All I have to do is to have faith, to believe Jesus died for me and to ask Him to forgive my sins. How truly wonderful is our God.

Three

I have always wondered about the phrase “who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life” because doesn’t the devil believe in Jesus? I think the explanation in praygo is useful in this respect – “Another word for ‘to believe’ might be ‘to place your trust’ “. This makes more sense – if we place our trust in Jesus we may have eternal life.

Alfred Delp was a Jesuit imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Nazi’s. He managed to get some writing materials in prison and he wrote “God knocked all my assets out of my hand and let my self assurance fall to pieces”, and finally “It all hinges on trust, on whether we are willing to receive God’s creative blessing and let it fulfil our lives.”

Can I trust that much?

Four

“God so loved the world” One definition of the word “world” is everything that exists everywhere. God created the world because of love. God saw the absolute “mess” of the world and out of love again he sent his son to save it. In this passage I think a John is referring to humankind when he talks about the world.

God sent his son not to condemn us but to love us. Jesus’ ministry was all about love. Yet there are many times when I condemn and judge myself and I am also capable of judging others!

God.s message to us is constantly one of love and yes I will get things wrong but if I believe in him I won’t be condemned. I am loved by God – all of me – light and dark. I often need reminding

I have a choice as to whether I believe or not. God has given me free will and belief isn’t a one off event but is on going. I can’t believe today and change my mind tomorrow. Once we say the words” I believe” we are on a journey. I may wander away from God but God is constant.

Five

Dear Lord God, your Truth is awesome! When “man” threw away the gift of sharing your life and living in your own love, joy, peace and in harmony with all creation you did not abandon him forever but immediately planned a way to save him, a way that cost you dearly , a way of even greater Love than that in creating him!

You sent your Son to save us through his own total, loving surrender even unto death. Yet still we resist you and still you long for our return,staying with us in Spirit and Word and Sacrament.

Deepen, o Lord, my love with more faith and my faith with more love. I pray for those who,in their blindness refuse to accept you. Send light, the piercing light of your Love into their hearts. By the strength of our prayer in you and in our Blessed Mother make a way, perform miracles of grace; keep your promise to pour out your spirit on all mankind and give everyone yet another chance to know you. Thank you.

Six

This passage is mainly about judging and seems so appropriate for this time. So many people having an opinion, including myself which in itself, I suppose, is ok but wanting, almost needing, to put the blame on someone, for the situation we are in regarding the pandemic – it is the fault of China or the Government or the people who are not willing to conform to the rules etc. The responsibility of what or whom, in that sense, doesn’t matter. Our responsibility is to do what’s right but not point the finger. There is a lot of aggression in human judging. There doesn’t appear to be much acceptance happening. All the judging, anger, shaming and blaming won’t make one iota of difference to any situation. God is and should be our only judge. The only one who matters.

God gave us the world and everything in it. He then sent His only Son to show us how much He loves us and the wonderful world He created. He will heal it.

Seven

A troublesome passage for me at first read. But over the years, looking deeper, the punishing judgmental God has become a loving nurturing God.

Richard Rohr said ’Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.’

‘God so loved the world…….. God did not send His Son into the world to be its judge‘

Hallelujah

He wants us to come out of hiding so that we can have a relationship with Him and experience the full measure of His love. He wants us to experience the delight He has in us and discover the delight we have in Him.

We don’t have to fear the shame and guilt we may be carrying. We don’t have to face anything alone. Whatever burdens are keeping us in darkness He will take from us, and be our companion on the road to wholeness. The measure of our healing is our willingness to surrender.

The Prodigal Son is never spurned. God’s arms are always open to welcome Him home.

This is cause for celebration indeed.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

Eight

Wow! Valuable things come in small packages, and here in 2/3 verses John pretty well summarises the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

I’m drawn to the word “world” because here I believe it means all creation on this planet, not just Jewry, not just Christians. Maybe not just people either!

“The world” arguably surely encompasses all creation, living and inanimate, including what we now often call “the environment”

The relationship of God with this world is that he loves it and everything in it.

And Jesus’ mission was not to condemn but to save. I cannot but contrast this with the “other” use of the word, as in “save us from the world, the flesh and the devil”.

Jesus became incarnate [literally in the meat, in the flesh] to declare that flesh was good!
And how does Jesus move, in the view of some, from he-who-saves, Saviour, to he-who-judges – the quick and the dead? Quick here is living, as in quicksand, which appears to be alive.

Certainly in this life he condemned some, the legalists, the literalists, but overwhelmingly and inexplicably he loved, forgave and healed many more. He came to save, to reconcile people to God.

We might care to ponder this word “save” as well, as in “God save our gracious queen” – what do we mean when we sing that?

More questions than answers here – that’s healthy; beware of any over-simplified explanations of these deep things.

Nine

My words today were ‘God loved’

This is where everything starts , I always find it so amazing that He loved us first before we loved Him.

God is love so of course He would !! But my slow finite mind is slow to understand this. His love reaches out to us, constantly winning us back, eroding our hard hearts like water erodes a cliff, slow, steady and gradual. What a reminder of God’s love for us today.

I remember someone saying that if ever you wondered if God loves you look at the cross. Today that got me between the eyes !

God loved
Jesus died
We believed
We love

Ten

“This is HOW God loved the world”

God loved the world into being, but this passage gives us an insight into how He loved.

His love never stops, his action never stops.He is Love in action.
He gave His only Son.
He sent His only Son.

All verbs.
God is not remote, not sitting back and watching.
God gives us a role model, God present in flesh, that we may know God the Father/Mother in His Son, not in a tent or a cloud….

He loves each of us with particular care and attention.
He is present in our world.

It is up to us, to me, to believe, to love and act out of love, to give of myself that others may believe.

In the words of St. Paul earlier this week, I wish you all grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus Our Lord.

Eleven

I continue receiving the same message: Gifts; for everything that I am and I have is a gift from God, indeed.

The love of God. He loves us so much. How much is so much? I recall a little exercise I do with our children in the Children’s Liturgy.

‘Stand up, open your arms as much as you can… that is the much that God loves you, me, us, and it is till the infinite and beyond. As well it is the position Jesus showed His love for you, me, us when dying in the cross to save us. Who can loves you, me, us more?’

Which father or mother will give any of his children to die for others? God did exactly that for the love of me, us.

Which one of us would go voluntarily to die for others? It requires a courage I doubt I have, but Jesus did for me, us.

So that immense LOVE God has and shows for you, for me, for any of his children is given freely in order to give me, us LIFE, a life that never ends.

Just He only asks for one thing, FAITH in Him.

At difficult times, when we lose courage, when the circumstances of life overwhelm us, when the hardships grow and everything seems hopeless, it is also the time when God comes, again, to our rescue, to help us, to carry our cross with us, or even to carry us in his arms, we just need to keep trusting in Him.

God Almighty, God of Love, God of Life, Holy Trinity, continue blessing us with your love and mercy. Amen.