2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
"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." John 3:16
Today’s gospel has the oft-quoted verse John 3:16. It’s the first verse we had our son memorize when he was a very little boy. It’s a great verse! I was praying about what to write when I came across the following in He Chose the Nails, a book by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado:
"… oh, how wide God’s love reaches. Aren’t you glad the verse does not read: ‘For God so loved the rich…’? Or, ‘For God so loved the famous…’? Or, ‘For God so loved the thin…’? It doesn’t. Nor does it state ‘For God so loved the Europeans or Africans…’ ‘the sober or successful…’ ‘the young or the old…’ No, when we read John 3:16, we simply (and happily) read, ‘For God so loved the world.’ How wide is God’s love? Wide enough for the whole world."
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, thus we all need a savior. Salvation is meant for everyone, but don’t we often think differently? How about Judas? How about Idi Amin, or Hitler? How about the guy who murdered your aunt, or the man who raped your daughter? How about the father who abused you or the husband who cheated on you and ran off with your best friend? Surely, they won’t get to heaven will they? God hopes so.
Can we hope so too? Certainly not at first, but definitely over time with God’s help and the prayers of others. So, let’s all pray for those who have committed horrible crimes, and for us to forgive anyone we need to forgive. Let’s see the world transformed by the power of forgiveness. And let’s pray for every person in the world that they will all accept God’s amazing free gift of salvation and be welcomed one day into heaven as His beloved son or daughter.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected]