Scripture Reading Reflection


by Fr. Andrew Kelly
In Greek the word “lift-up” as used in Sunday’s Gospel (John 3:13-17) means both lifting up and exalting. Thus Jesus’ lifted up cross becomes Jesus’ exalted throne radiating Jesus’ words:
“For God so loved the world that God gave an only Son…”
It is said that Jesus’ feet nailed to the cross/throne symbolically means that Jesus never abandons Jesus’ cross/throne.
Symbolically Jesus’ arms are nailed cosmically, eternally, achingly outstretched to embrace the universe with the love “God so loved the world…”
The God love flowing from Jesus’ cross/throne is indivisible, unconditional, non-discriminating and non-preferential. It is impossible to escape or be excluded from God’s loving gaze.
If this is the love the believing community experiences when in faith it lovingly gazes upon Jesus’ cross/throne, then this is the love the community commits itself to live. Because it is God love, no one, no matter who they are or what they may have done, can escape or be excluded from the community’s love.
If this love is lacking, Dorothy Day aptly describes the community: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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