Loving this world, warts and all: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel John 3:14-21 by Father Steven LaBaire

father steven labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish.” The world that God loves is not some idealized place where people try to live in justice and peace.

It is this world: with all the crime, dishonesty, wars and constant feuding that divide people. With all the greed and pettiness; this world with all its sickening teenage bullying and Ferguson Missouris: this is the world that God loves so much. This world is so loved by God that he seeks to bring healing and new life to it.

Faith or “believing,” is the “ladder” out of the chaos we humans create in this world. It is ladder freely provided by God. But it is also ladder we freely choose to climb. No one can climb it for us. We must faithfully climb it ourselves.

Lars Plougmann Upwards, Flickr Creative Commons
Lars Plougmann Upwards, Flickr Creative Commons

Faith is not just a matter of saying “Lord, Lord” or simply wearing a cross around our necks or cleverly being able to quote bible verses. To believe in Christ is to live the life he asks of us. It is to pursue good and resist evil. Believing demands a constant striving for integrity in our lives and relationships. Climbing the ladder is challenging. It requires perseverance and energy.

But this is how the world in all its craziness is transformed: person by person, relationship by relationship, family by family, community by community, each choosing to “climb the ladder” toward harmony with God ,with ourselves and with our neighbor.

We’re now halfway through Lent. Let’s pray for one another. Pray, that we’d each find and embrace our own way of transforming our little piece of this word, the world God loves so much.

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