The 1st reading from 2 Chronicles tells us that the leaders and the people were not listening to the Lord and were no longer interested in seeking the ways of God. Looking at our lives today, we need to ask the question as to what part of our life does the Lord occupy? Do we put God first or give Him only our spare thoughts and time?  Oftentimes we are attracted to the things of the world, our own priorities, and habits even though they may have kept us in bondage. Hence more often than not, God is given our spare time and things done in our spare time are usually of low priority. We fail to realize that we are dependent on God our Father and our pride numbs us to think that we are self-sufficient and can get to heaven through our own deluded way of righteousness and our own works.

However, in the 2nd reading to the Ephesians, St Paul’s points out that this is exactly the wrong way to salvation for it is by the grace of God that we have been saved through faith – a gift of God – not by our works. For God so loved us and loves us even when we were dead to our sins.

In John’s Gospel this passage “for God so love the world….” (Jn 3:16-19) is perhaps the best known verse for many people.  However, we must stop and consider the true meaning and gravity behind this popular verse. It is not a passport to do whatever we want and our Father will save us. The grace of His salvation has no meaning in isolation from our response to it. Jesus did not come to condemn but those who do not believe, those who do not respond are already condemned. As Christians we must accept and believe the testimony of Jesus regarding our Father and His plan of salvation and not merely “believe in God”

Sin holds us captive as slaves, makes us blind to God’s presence, burdens and weighs us down. We must return to God our Father through repentance of our sins, seeking forgiveness to reconcile, restore and deepen our relationship with our God and our brothers and sisters. Loving as God loves means not wishing the person ill and not telling lies about him. It means trying to understand him, trying to feel what he feels and allowing Jesus in us to forgive him. then let our actions be consistent with our beliefs. Stimulate a right living for God in a world where he is largely ignored.

Gerard and Lawren