I often wondered about the guy who showed up at every major sporting event with the sign saying “John 3:16.” He was at the Masters, PGA, the World Series, Final Four, and others. How did he manage to get tickets? Was he rich? He couldn’t have snuck in since he had an afro dyed in at least three colors. He was almost always right in camera range, holding up his sign for all the world to see. Talk about evangelization!
“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.”
Why that verse? Why not the one before talking about being “lifted up” or the following verse that says “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him”?
Maybe the sign should read “John 3:15-17.” (But that would be too long and not as memorable.)
In any case, there is cause for joy here in the three verses. In fact all the readings for today should make us rejoice. In the first reading the writer speaks of God’s compassion which lasts through the Exile and ends in the charge of a foreign ruler who defeated Babylon to let the people go back home and rebuild the Temple. In the 2nd reading we are reminded that God is “rich in mercy” because of “the great love he has for us.”
As we start the 2nd part of Lent we are assured the goal is mercy and forgiveness, not condemnation and punishment. We are to be encouraged in our Lenten practices for they will bring about “the immeasurable riches of [God’s] grace.”
~Fr. Sas, March 15 Homily
The 4th Sunday of Lent