Second Week of Easter - Wednesday
Homily preached at the weekday Conventual Mass in the Abbey Church by Fr Antony Hain OSB
Gospel: John 3
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved...
...On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.
Ten days into the Easter season, with forty still to go. The Church gives us fifty days to celebrate the joy and hope of the Resurrection, while allowing us only forty for the penitential practices of Lent. That is the season more than any other in which believers dedicate themselves to God. Resolutions are made, progress is daily monitored until Easter arrives with its assessment of the season's value in moving us to greater intimacy with God and service to others.
Unfortunately, once Easter is past, we tend to gradually retreat to our pre-Lenten habits. All of which can miss the point of today's Gospel declaration that Jesus did not come to condemn, to drag down, to chastise, but rather to lift us up and set us free.
The Easter season should be used as a time for us to become closer to God, an opportunity to remind ourselves that Jesus came for our salvation, not our condemnation.
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
From today's Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion: '...grant, we pray, that, as we have come to know your truth, we may make it ours by a worthy way of life.' '...and lead those you have imbued with heavenly mysteries to pass from former ways to newness of life.'