Paul writes that the cross — Jesus Christ crucified — is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Cor 1:23). Rome imposed crucifixion on traitors, criminals, and delinquent slaves. For the Jews who were waiting for a liberator from God, a crucified Messiah preached by the Christians is utter foolishness. But in Jesus, the cross becomes the sign of the power and wisdom of God, because it is by his holy cross that Jesus redeemed the world.
The evangelist declares that the underlying motive for Jesus’ coming into the world is Love — the love of God for his creatures. The coming of God’s “only Son” means not the condemnation of the “sinful world” but its salvation. In God’s eyes, the world and everything in it, especially humanity, are worth saving, worth the “giving” of the Son that entails sacrifice. Here we are reminded of Isaac, the “only son,” beloved of Abraham whom God asked to be sacrificed, but spared because God was content with Abraham’s fidelity.
Paul draws a powerful lesson from the height and depth of God’s love: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Rom 8:31-32).
GOSPEL • JOHN 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.