Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Fourth Sunday of Lent

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John 3:14-21

"God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son."

When we speak of God's love for the whole world, we are not speaking of some far distant ethereal notion called 'love', but of concrete action. God expressed his love for the world by sending his own Son among us. In doing so, says St. Paul in the second reading of today, God "was generous with his mercy". Here too it is clear that God's 'mercy' is a matter of action, not just of word, for "when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ".

He sent his Son to share utterly and completely in our human life, so that we might share utterly and completely in his divine life. He has granted us salvation - that is a life of communion, of friendship with God and with one another, a life that is not of our own making. It is pure gift, sheer grace. God is one who gives. As St. Paul tells us today: "We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it". What - me? God's work of art? Popular negative religious attitude would have us see ourselves less favourably, yet that is what we are invited to believe, that we are "brought to life through Christ". That is our faith.

Faith means believing in and accepting this gift of love that saves us and gives us, even now, eternal life. However, when we speak of believing in what God has done for us, we are not speaking of some unattached notional assent, but once again of concrete action. Like God's love for us, so our faith in God is expressed in deeds. Actions speak louder than words. The acts of our lives proclaim our faith in Christ more surely than the words of our lips. To "live by the truth" means to take seriously the gift of communion with God and with one another. It means to translate believing and accepting into daily living expressed in acts of genuine commitment and solidarity.