Today’s Gospel (John 3:16-18) moves from the personal and the private to the public… from the salvation of the person to the salvation of the world, and back again to the personal and the private.
In our day there is a determined effort to confine religion and therefore the person of Jesus Christ to the private.
The wisdom of the day suggests that there should be no place for religion and therefore no place for the person of Jesus Christ in education, in health systems… anywhere in public life.
It’s absolutely impossible to reconcile this privatization of religion and the message of today’s Gospel which clearly states that the person of Jesus Christ is the key to personal salvation but also to the salvation of the world.
Now, I need to explain the meaning of salvation precisely because when we think about salvation we’ve already privatized it and we never think of salvation as having anything to do with the future of the world – here and now.
So what does salvation mean? It means nothing more than human well-being individually and collectively. Happiness. It means the well-being of the world – the old missioners would have said the temporal and eternal well-being of humankind.
This means that we can have all the economic policies we want, all the education policies, all the health policies… but if they’re not founded on God they’ll eventually turn and bite us!
The world is set on a path that says we don’t need God; we’ll do it our way, yet “God sent his son into the world… so that through him the world might be saved.” I trust you can see the contradiction?
So what’ll happen? This is what I think will happen; the world will persist on this path, the world is not for turning (there are very good reasons for that; historical reasons) and only from a point of collapse will the world return to God.
That’s what a generation will see and experience; a collapse. But let’s go deeper; spiritually it’ll look like the Evil One has taken everything from God and when it looks like Evil has triumphed God will act.
Go deeper again; in other words it’ll look like the period of time between Christ’s death and resurrection when even the disciples thought everything was lost.
Go deeper still; in other words what happened to Christ (what we celebrate every Easter) is what’ll happen to humanity.
The rejection of God always leads to the figure of a crucified humanity, to the point where everything seems lost. But God will not abandon his creation.
The future of the world is there before us in the figure of Christ crucified. Everything we need to know about the future can be found there.