2021-03-144th Sunday of LentRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Sometimes, people will say to us: You Catholics do not know anything about the Bible. Actually, it was members of the early Catholic Church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that actually wrote the New Testament.

What made the Bible attractive to the Protestant Church was the invention of the printing press. Martin Luther had the Bible translated into German and was able to distribute it because of the printing press. Up until that time, the Bible was written in Latin. Many people could not read it because they were illiterate.

That did not stop the Catholic Church from teaching the Bible. They did so with plays that re-enacted the Bible. They also used art such as statues, paintings and stained glass windows.

However, if you went to Mass every day for the next three years you would hear most of the Bible read to you at Mass. Isn`t that amazing! On Sundays, for the most part, the first reading is taken from the Old Testament and so is the responsorial psalm. The second reading most often, is taken from the letters of St. Paul but sometimes include letters from other apostles and disciples. Gospels are taken from Saint Matthew in Year A, Saint Mark in Year B (we are in Year B), and Saint Luke, in Year C. These Gospels are called the Synoptic Gospels because they bear a similarity to each other.

Saint John`s Gospel is different from the other three Gospels and is used sporadically in all three years as it is used in today`s Gospel. Saint John`s Gospel is much more theological than the other Gospels. Saint John was the only apostle who was not martyred for the faith.

John lived for about 100 years. St. John often talked about love. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

Today`s Gospel has, perhaps, the most important passage in the New Testament. Many feel that it is a summary of the whole New Testament. The passage is John 3:16.

It goes like this: "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."

The definition of God is love. God loves us so much that He became one of us - a human being. God loves us under all conditions. When we are good, God loves us. When we are bad, God continues to love us.

There are times when we do not love ourselves but God continues to love us.

Sometimes it is difficult to believe that God loves every one of us throughout the world, even those people that we do not love. Why? Because each of us is one of his children.

We need to learn to return that love to God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. You have heard that many times. Now, we need to live it.

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