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Ukrainian Catholic Church

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Sunday before Exaltation

Sunday Gospel John 3, 13-17

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Today we heard the Gospel where Jesus Christ says "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3, 16).

Last Sunday we reflected on the Gospel where a young man asked Jesus what to do to have eternal life. And today Jesus again gives us an answer. He says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3, 16).

We hear this Gospel today for a good reason. In a couple of days we will be celebrating one of the greatest feasts of our liturgical year: the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of our Lord. This Sunday is called the Sunday before Exaltation. When we are preparing for the feast we reflect on the Lord’s Cross. We will celebrate the feast of the solemn exaltation of the instrument on which our Saviour died… died for our sins… died to give us life, which never ends. And all that we need to get this life is to believe in Him. To believe so much that we can see this love that He grants us.

We heard that Jesus said: "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3, 14). Jesus talked about events that happened to the Israelite people when they sinned in the wilderness and God sent among them fiery serpents (Num. 21, 4-9). And when Moses prayed and asked God to have mercy on them, God said to Moses to make a fiery serpent and put in on a pole, so if someone was bitten to look on it and they will be saved. And it worked… when someone was bitten they looked on the bronze serpent and was saved, because they believed that God grants them health. The serpent wasn’t an idol, but it was the visible sign that God takes care of his people. That serpent gave an opportunity for people to focus on God, who alone grants life… grants love.

In our lives, unfortunately we are very often preoccupied by many things and forget that the centre of our life should be God. We forget that only He is the one who gives life to us. We forget that He is the one who looks after us. We forget that He gave His life so that we could have eternal life.

Today’s Sunday and this feast – which we will be celebrating shortly – puts before us the Cross, so that at least at the beginning of the new church year we again realise, think about and see what is going on in our lives. Jesus says: "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. Today’s Gospel encourages us to review again our faith.

I think all of us would like to get eternal life. We are born to the eternal life. God grants us this eternal life. But do we believe in it? We say that there is something after death… but do we realise what? Eternal life with God or without Him is not a temporary thing, it’s not an attempt, it is eternity! And the life that we have here is our choice. God gives us time to make a decision on how we would like to spend eternity. Our lives shows this decision. Also our lives are a time when we can "taste” the Heavenly Kingdom when we live with God and in God. When our faith won’t just be words and fulfilling some external ceremonies, but when our faith will be the faith of living hearts. When we will see God in the middle of our lives, be focussed on Him and build our lives around Him. When we go to church to use every chance to be with God, and do not think "why this feast falls during weekdays and why not move it to a Sunday?”. When we will go to Confession, because we offended God and would like to apologise for it. When we will approach the Holy Eucharist every time during the Liturgy to be participants of Divine life, God’s life.

So I wish for each of us that by preparing for the feast of Exaltation and seeing before us the crucified Christ, who gave His life for us, we look on our faith and understand for ourselves whether we really believe that only God can grant us eternal life. And if we do believe, I wish for us to live by this faith every day of our lives here on Earth and then for ever in Heaven. Amen.

 

Category: Sermons | Added by: abat (2013-09-25)
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