My thoughts (Linda Bernabie):
We see John 3:16 everywhere: billboards, bikers’ leathers, sports events, t-shirts, bumper stickers, plaques, etc. I haven’t researched it, but I think I can safely say this is the most famous verse in the Bible. In many cases, it is the only Bible verse that some people know. The entire message is not only in John 3:16, but in John 3:16-20. These verses can lighten our path to heaven and show us what God’s divine love really means.
During this time of Advent, the preparation for the celebration of the coming of our Savior, we should remember that Jesus Christ was born a sacrificial lamb and would die for our sins, but Jesus was also born to teach us how to fill our hearts with enough love to give to all of God’s children. By loving others as Jesus taught us, we can find inner peace and an extraordinary happiness that is amazing.
In this mystery of divine love, God redeems all faithful people with the blood of Jesus. Surely we should unconditionally love all of those whom “God so loves.”
God tells us that we can’t just love with words, but must love with action (walk the talk). Following is a straight forward, but appropriate, description of what Jesus would almost certainly say if he were teaching us how to love as “God so loves” (adapted from Shannon L. Alder, Goodreads.com):
“Your job is to get off your self-righteous behind and start reaching out to all people . . . because my message wasn’t just about getting together once a week to sing hymns and listen to a feel good message that you may or may not apply to your life. It was about caring for and helping the broken, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked, and the liars. It is about turning the other cheek when someone hurts you; it’s about loving one another and making amends. It is about allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. When you do this, you will know me and you will know true happiness and peace.
Until you learn to love as I taught you, you will never know who I really am. You will continue to be one of my fans or a Sunday only warrior. You will falsely represent yourself to the world. But not to me, for I know your heart.” — Jesus Christ
Thought for the day: “When we talk to our fellow human beings and they tell us their troubles, we should have love for them as we listen carefully and have compassion for their suffering and pain. For we are God’s creatures; we are a manifestation of the divine love of God.” — Thaddeus of Vitovnica (paraphrased)
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.