Acts 5:17-26; Psalm 34; John 3:16-21
The Gospel today show why Jesus was sent by the Father: 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. Yes, God loves the world, and all that is in it, because everything he created is good! But sin injured God’s creation which is why it must be redeemed. We live in a world that is full of sin, and God does not have to save it, yet, he did! Not because he had to, but because he wanted to do so. Why? It is in the nature of God to do what is good, to heal what is wounded, to raise to life what is dead. God does this through his Son.
If God sent his Son to redeem the world, and if the Son did not come to condemn the world, why is there hell? If God loves us so much, he will not send people to hell. Yes, God loves us so much, he will not condemn us to hell, because Jesus said in the Gospel today, those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. If I will not believe in Jesus, then I condemn myself. God does not condemn people to hell, people condemn themselves to hell by believing or not believing in the Son of God.
The key word then is believe. It is not only believing God exists, because James 2:19 tells us even demons believe God exists! Believing is not an intellectual belief that Jesus is the Son of God. When the devil also knew Jesus is the Son of God when he tempted Jesus. So what does believing mean? Jesus tells us: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil… but those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
To believe in the Son of God is to come to do what is true. It is to hate the darkness and to come to the light, who is Jesus. It is to surrender our lives to Jesus, to trust him and to let him take charge of our lives. When we believe in Jesus, we allow him to show us who we are. We come to his Light so he clearly shows us our works, the intent of our hearts and most especially, our sins. We cannot repent unless we are aware of our sins. When we come to Jesus, and he shines on us so that we see ourselves as we are: sinful and helpless. And he does this through the sufferings that come our way. While God is not the source of suffering, and we may never know the specific reason why we suffer, he allows sufferings so he can use them for our good. It is painful to suffer. It is difficult to suffer, because we feel abandoned by God. We feel overwhelmed, alone and helpless. Yet, suffering is the light God uses to show us who we are! Suffering is not the absence of God’s presence, but it is the superabundance of God’s presence, that we cannot see him.
This is what happened in the First Reading. The Apostles were in prison yet, in the midst of their captivity, God set them free. They would not have known the power of God to set them free if they were not in prison! Their imprisonment showed them the power of God to set people free.
The Psalm tells us I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. This is God’s will! He wants to deliver us from all our fears which include our anxieties, our insecurities, our distress. God loves the world so much, he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him, whoever comes to him in trust and surrender, will be saved.
Do you feel like there is no end to your suffering? Do you feel like there is no end to your guilt and problems and worries. Do you want to be set free from what enslaves you, from your addictions, from your fears, from your anxieties, from your worries? Believe in Jesus. Come to Jesus and he will show you who you really are: you are a child of God, whom he loves so much, that he died, to set you free. He wants to give you a new life, the best life that you can have: one where he is with you, always!
Lord, here I am. I am overwhelmed by my suffering, by my fears of the uncertainties these days. I do not know what the future holds, but Lord, I come to you in trust. I surrender my life to you. Take and do what you will, for the glory of your name. Let your Light shine through my miseries, that I may see your face. Jesus, I trust you.