|Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23; John 5:31-47
Nestled among today’s readings, John 3:16 could quite possibly be the most proof-texted sentence in history: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life.”
On the one hand, it is easy to focus on the latter half of that sentence—that my imperfect faith in a perfect God will one day lead me to be with him in eternal joy. However, in sitting with this verse, I keep returning to the first half—a God that was willing, in his love for humankind, to sacrifice his only child. I can’t begin to fathom the pain in that sacrifice, nor imagine being asked to make a similar one.
In praying over today’s readings, and after experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, a question that won’t leave my heart is, what am I actually willing to sacrifice for my Lord? This question makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Will God confront me as He did Moses? To what lengths am I willing to go to live out my faith?
I might be able to give up petty comforts like coffee for forty days, but am I ready to risk the discomfort that comes from truly challenging injustice? What does it mean to build the Kingdom on earth? I like to think that I am a faithful believer, but to what lengths will my faith ask me to go? I find myself with more questions than certitude.
All of our readings today remind us that we are the children of a loving God who is passionately involved in our own lives. May we all live out our faith in a way that is worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.
Madeline Vitek is Associate Director for Mission.