When I was a teenager in high school, I answered the phone one night and learned that my mother won a car in a raffle held by a Church organization. I excitedly ran to tell my father. I won’t tell you what he said to me exactly, but he didn’t believe me and basically said I was joking. Dad went to the phone and heard for himself. All of us were excited beyond belief and couldn’t wait to pick up the new Buick. It was a beautiful car that brought us a lot of happy memories.

What great news that was at the time! But like all things in this world, it didn’t last forever. We had a lot of fun in that car, but eventually, it got old and we traded it in for another car.

Today, you are getting a message, great news. You have won the biggest lottery of all time. In all three readings we learn that, through Jesus Christ, God has offered us eternal life with him. Things in this world come and go. We are not created for this world but for everlasting life with God himself. We are here to prepare us to know, love and serve God and his people and to be happy with him forever in heaven.

In the first reading from 2nd Chronicles, we heard about God’s love and patience with the people of Israel. After giving them many chances to turn back to him, God allowed them to be taken into exile and their temple to be destroyed because of their obstinance. Later, out of his love, he returned the People of Israel to their own lands and Temple.

St. Paul also speaks of God’s love and his great gift for us:

“Brothers and sisters:
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 —,
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that -in the ages to come - He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Notice, Paul says we ARE raised up with Christ and seated with him in heaven- present tense- NOW- by the grace of God- a free gift. Christ comes to us to live within us today.

Finally, the Gospel reminds us of the famous John 3:16-

“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.”
The gift is ours if we accept it. All God asks is that his people love him and love our brothers and sisters. St. John also tells us that we can reject the gift of God

“...People preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God..”

Do not be like the ancient Hebrew people who rejected God and chose false Gods. Use your gifts and talents to share the wonderful gift we have been given.


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