How often do we pay attention to God’s love for us? How often do we appreciate and cherish God’s love for us in our lives as Christians? Today’s readings all emphasize the importance of God’s love and mercy for us. Our first reading from the Second book of Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23 shows us how much love God has for his people that He made and inspired Cyrus the king of Persia to let the Israelites go home and build a house for Him in Judah. In our second reading today, Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 2:4-10 reminds us of God’s love for us stating that “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” In the gospel reading from the gospel of Saint John 3:14-21, we are reassured of this great love God has for us as Saint John states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." So we really do have a reason to rejoice today which is also known as Laetare Sunday because God’s love for us which will bring about our salvation and redemption through the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

This unconditional love God has for us supersedes anything and everything in our life as Christians. Sometimes we fail to appreciate God’s love for us by loving Him back and living out His love in our world. Our sins hinder us from paying attention to God’s love and mercy for us. We pick on ourselves and even condemn ourselves for not being faithful to Him, yet, we tend to focus so much on our sins than on God’s mercy and love for us. How often have we strived to let God’s love for us propel us to love Him more in our thoughts, words and actions? We have even forgotten that we are loved by God and we have refused to accept, appreciate and utilize His love for us as today’s readings emphasizes in changing our lives and repenting from our sins.

My dear friends in Christ, remember the biblical stories of the prodigal son, Saul becoming Paul, Zacchaeus the tax collector, the adulterous woman caught in the act, Mary Magdalene, the publican in the temple, king David, etc, these stories remind us of what it means to repent of our sins and return to God by paying attention to God’s love and mercy for us. The call to appreciate and cherish God’s love for us, is a call to repent from our sins, reconcile ourselves with God through the Sacrament of Confession and to renew our spiritual lives. Hence my brothers and sisters, it is time to use God’s love for us in bringing ourselves back to Him through Prayer - by praying not only for ourselves and relatives but for others in need of our prayers; through Fasting - by deliberately abstaining from physical gratification as well as from our evil actions so as to achieve a greater spiritual goal; through Almsgiving - by helping and assisting the poor or those in need as a way to show and share the love of God in our world today. Amen!