Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:17-26; John 3:16-21)
There is a difference between believing someone and believing in her or him. The former is a limited credence: what the person is saying now seems trustworthy. The latter expresses a deeper, more permanent credibility: not just everything that the person says commands adherence, but all that she or he does can be counted on. The gospel reading today testifies that Jesus is worth this second kind of belief.
The passage has been called “the gospel in miniature” because it presents the central truth of the Christian faith. It affirms that Jesus is God’s Son sent into the world to give humans the fullness of life. This is accomplished when they trust him implicitly; that is, when they follow his teachings and imitate his ways even to the extent of dying on the cross. In short, they experience the fullness of life when they believe in him. Not to believe in him, therefore, deprives one of eternal life. As the passage warns, “whoever does not believe has already been condemned.”
It is not hard to believe in Jesus, at least for those in countries with a high degree of religious freedom. However, it entails that we give up belief in the gods and goddesses of our times: entertainment personalities, sports heroes, politicians, friends who encourage us to sin. By allowing Jesus to take control of our lives through reflection on the gospel and prayer we will experience the fullness of happiness.