Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:17-21; John 3:16-21)
Today’s gospel contains the most famous verse of the Bible. People have only to see the reference to know its content. Indeed, “John 3:16” has become a kind of code reminding Christians of God’s love and calling skeptics to trust.
Curiously, the words are not put in quotation marks. Evidently, modern editors think they belong to a narrator, not to Jesus. It would be at least a little odd that Jesus would speak of himself in the third person. More likely, the words are those of teachers like the apostles in today’s first reading. Certainly, calling those who do not believe in Jesus “condemned” will raise the ire of Jewish priests.
We may be repulsed when seeing “John 3:16” on poster board at football games. But that is because of the modern tendency to privatize religion. Those who brandish such signs hardly wish to condemn anyone. They likely want only to tell the world of Jesus Christ. Perhaps we can enhance their efforts by Christian service. When we feed the hungry and visit the sick in the name of Christ, our deeds will speak more eloquently than words.