In this weekend’s Gospel we read perhaps the most quoted verse of scripture: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” It’s printed on t-shirts, coffee mugs, bracelets and necklaces, and on pens and pencils to hand out to youth groups.
Perhaps this is one of those verses that is so often quoted that it has lost some of its importance and just become a commonplace phrase? But this Sunday, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, let’s take some time to really dive deep into what this passage means. If we go all the way back to the beginning, we see Adam and Eve in the garden. They have been given everything they could possibly desire, but through an act of disobedience and selfishness, they lose their inheritance. They want to be God and in trying to become like him, they turn their back on the very One they want to imitate.
God, of course, knew this was going to happen and had a plan from the beginning. The irony is that God wanted to allow all of us to share in his divine life. He wanted us to participate fully and intimately in his very divinity. This was the desire of Adam and Eve, to be more like God, but they tried to get there through disobedience, while Christ brings us there by his obedience to the Father. The Catechism states, “God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.” (CCC 221)
Adam and Eve lost their inheritance through disobedience. Jesus gave us our inheritance back by his obedience to the Father and offers to make us partakers of the divine life through the Holy Spirit. It’s the ultimate comeback story. This is why John 3:16 is such an important verse. Not because it can sell more merchandise to the Christian world than any other verse, but because it tells us of God’s plan right from the beginning to perfect us.
This perfection does not come without a cost. As scripture says, “We have been purchased for a price.” That price is the death and torture of Jesus Christ, who became man in order to allow us to fully participate in the life of the trinity. What Adam and Eve did in the beginning, and what we continue to do today through our sin, can only be rectified by God stepping in and saving us. Today, let’s rejoice that he has.
– From everyone at Diocesan Publications, God bless!