Thursday, April 20, 2023

Gospel Reflection John 3:31-36

In today’s Gospel reading we hear that God does not ration His gift of the Spirit. In God there is no limitation, He is infinite being and infinite love. Sadly, we can easily forget this important truth about God.  Why? I suspect because it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking God and creation are in competition with each other. If this was the case, there would only be so much of God to go around at any time. However, any limited being is not God. 

Within the temporal world, if something, say my bookshelf, is in a certain place, I cannot be in that place. Finite things exist in a similar way, and so they can ‘compete’ with each other, as it were. My attention is limited, and my knowledge perhaps even more so. I can only think of so many things. So it is with all creatures to varying degrees. The finite and contingent world has intrinsic limitations. But God does not exist as creatures do. It is not even the most technically correct thing to say that God exists, but rather that He is existence itself. As St. Thomas Aquinas says, God is’ ipsum essse subsistens’, subistent being itself. God is not ‘a’ being, He is being

Thus God is in an utterly unique way. As such, He also is in an unchanging way. Said differently, it is impossible to predicate change in God. I think this is an important point as it relates to today’s passage “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” When we disobey the Son, God does not suddenly become angry with us. In our sin and rebellion, we walk outside the divine life. We slowly die physically following our spiritual disconnection. These choices are our own and we must own the consequences. But if we obey the Son, if we believe in Him, we then step into the divine life. We plug into the very source of life itself.  

It is not God that changes in either our rebellion or our repentance, He is always loving. And it is always the case that we experience the wrath of God by choosing to disobey the Son. That God unchangingly loves and gives to us without limitation is one of the central truths of the Gospel. We can embrace this fact or turn away from it. The very essence of grace is the continuous reaching into every nook and cranny of the cosmos to bring it back into alignment. God loves His creation and His loving reach is part and parcel of our existence.

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