Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 3, 16-21

For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God's only Son.

And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up;

but whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” These words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus seem like a synthesis of the Gospel according to John and of Christian mystery. Jesus is God’s gift to humanity, a gift that flows from a limitless love. God’s desire that we do not get lost in the clutches of evil is so great that he sends his only son to free and save us. We can therefore say that, when “the Word became flesh”, never has God been so close to us. What greater proof of love than this can we give? God considered his friendship with us greater—if one can say this—than the bond with His own son. In truth, both the sending of the Son into the world by the Father and the Son’s love for us that led him to death on a cross, show us that love is a gift, is a service and a willingness to give everything we have for others. A false love is what leads us to think only of ourselves. True love is the love of Jesus who spent his entire life to save others from the slavery of evil and death. In this sense, Jesus explains to Nicodemus the reason for his incarnation: “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Jesus does not want the condemnation of the world. He came for exactly the opposite reason: he came to save humanity from evil and from every form of slavery. And the path put in place for this to happen is the path of love: God’s love for us and, consequently, our response to receive this love. This is faith. Hence Jesus says, “Those who believe in him [in the Son] are not condemned.” Whoever welcomes Jesus as the one sent by the Father to save us from evil is one who believes; and is, therefore, already saved. Faith—and therefore salvation—consists in welcoming Jesus’ immeasurable and gratuitous love. Those who refuse this love are judged, not by Jesus but by themselves, by their own refusal of the power of love that liberates us from the coils of evil, by their own refusal of the light of God’s love and opting to remain in the darkness of self-love. Unfortunately, often, too often, people—and sometimes the disciples themselves—prefer the darkness of a violent and cruel life to a life of love, justice and fellowship. Acts of egocentrism and violence thicken the darkness that lies in the hearts and lives of people. There exists a diabolical trap that imprisons us. Whoever receives the true light—the light of Jesus and the Gospel—becomes illuminated by or, even better, wrapped in the light of the Gospel. And doing good works in God means living with the boundless love of God. This is the love that we and the world need now at the beginning of this new millennium. Pope Francis, visiting the island of Lampedusa last year, spoke against the globalization of indifference that is at the root of thousands of deaths, not only at Lampedusa, but throughout the whole world. Christians have the fascinating and arduous task of globalizing the love received from the Lord. He welcomes us into his dynamism, making us “children of the resurrection” and witnesses of the liberating power of His love starting now.