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Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Ephesians 2:4-10
Psalm 137:1-6
John 3:14-21

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the dilemma of being loved

"God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life." —John 3:16

God loves us with so great a love (Eph 2:4) that we are put in a position where we are obligated to respond. God decided to empty Himself (Phil 2:7) and become a human being. Then He decided to die on the cross for love of us. Next, He knocks on the door of our lives (Rv 3:20) so He can come in and permanently live inside us (see Jn 14:23). Then He decides to give us His body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine (see Mt 26:26-28).

We are free to ignore Jesus' Incarnation, crucifixion, and repeated knocks on our door; however, we may sense that this would be the grossest ingratitude bordering on blasphemy. If the Lord hadn't loved us so much and so faithfully, we wouldn't be in this constant dilemma of what to do about His love. However, if the Lord hadn't loved us so much, we wouldn't even have the opportunity to be free, saved, pure, and holy.

Because God is love, He gave us freedom. He will not force a person to love Him. Because we are free, we can decide to accept or reject God, to be with Him forever in heaven or without Him forever in hell. The greatness of God's love implies the magnitude of our freedom. God's love implies the existence of heaven and hell.

God has loved you with a perfect, infinite, crucified love. This is an unchangeable fact. What are you going to do about it? Will you love Him in return?

Prayer:  Father, You are Love. May I decide to live in Your love and live in You (1 Jn 4:16).

Promise:  "He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved. Both with and in Christ Jesus He raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens." —Eph 2:5-6

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who has given His all so that He may be all in all! (1 Cor 15:28)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 2011

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