Unfortunately, all too often I come across those who do not believe that they can or will be saved. Sometimes I hear it in the confessional, when a penitent struggles to believe that God could forgive him or her of a big mistake that they made long ago. Other times it comes out when one quips that they think they are headed to the warm place. Perhaps it is not all bad to remember that heaven is not a guarantee. However, we have every reason to believe that God wants us to join Him in heaven. Our faith should be optimistic, even if we struggle to accept that God could save us despite our mistakes.
If you do not believe me, consider the opening line of this weekend’s Gospel: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” If God went to all that trouble, clearly God wants us to be saved. To be saved from sin and the pain, misery, and despair that come with it. But God wants to do more than save us “from” bad things. God also wants to save us “for” good things. To save us for heaven, for holiness, for the happiness that doesn’t fade away. God wants what’s best for us.
That’s why he sent his Son. He didn’t send a servant or a slave. He didn’t send a messenger or a minion. He sent part of himself, his own Son, the second person of the Trinity. This was obviously a mission of great love.
As we hear in today’s reading, God gave his only Son, Jesus, “so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” To believe in Jesus is to accept two radical claims of Christianity. First, that God is the Trinity, three-persons-in-one-God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And second, that God loved us enough to become One of us through his incarnation. We refer to these things as “mysteries of the faith” because they aren’t easy to explain or understand. But through faith, we can accept them and live according to them.
In this day and age, we are often discouraged from being people of faith. We are expected to accept scientific facts and figures, but when it comes to spiritual mysteries like the Incarnation or the Trinity, our culture tends to be skeptical. As Christians, we are called to bear witness to this culture. Through our faith, we can encourage others to accept that these mysteries are not fantasies. God has really sent his Son to save the world! Let us do our part to help “the world” to believe it’s true.
May God bless you with the joy that comes from confident faith that an invitation into the life of communion that is Trinity has been extended to you. May the Holy Spirit move you to accept the invitation into the salvation won by the Son, through which you will always know the love of God the Father.