IV SUNDAY OF LENT
2 chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; ephesians 2:4-10; john 3:14-21
a man saw his five-year-old daughter tearing expensive wrapping-paper and sticking it on an old cardboard box, and yelled at her for wasting time and paper.
the next morning, the little girl brought that box to her dad, and said: «this is for you, daddy.» the father was embarrassed by his earlier reaction. he opened the box, found it empty, and he yelled again: «don’t you know, when you give someone a present there’s supposed to be something inside the package?» the little girl’s eyes became little pools. she said: «daddy, there is something inside. i blew kisses into it; i filled it with my love.»
the father was crushed… he fell on his knees, put his arms around his little girl, and he asked her to forgive him for his anger. he kept that love-filled box by his bed for the rest of his life. often, he’d open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
in a very real sense, GOD our parent has given each of us a gift-box filled with the greatest gift of his unconditional love.
the first reading tells us that GOD manifested his love through his patience and faithfulness towards his unfaithful people.
the second reading and the gospel tell us that GOD showed his love in the ultimate gift… the sending of his only SON. the text from john reads: «for GOD so loved the world that he gave his only SON» and this is the essence of the gospel.
this text emphasizes two things: first, GOD took the initiative to love us and save us; he sent his son… for one reason: because he loved us. second, it tells us of the width of GOD’s love: he loved the world. not just the «chosen people»; not only those who loved him… GOD’s love is not a reserved love.
the greatest gift is for you and me. all you and i have to do is to accept the gift. do i accept the gift of GOD’s love? do i believe that GOD loves me so much that he sent his son to be my redeemer? how do i respond to his love?