A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (Jn 3: 14-21)
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
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.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but 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.
Come Holy Spirit, strengthen our confidence in Christ's redemption.
As Christians, there is sometimes something funny. That we speak much of God's mercy, and we experience it, we read about it in the Gospels (ie the Father in the Prodigal Son, the King who forgave the entire debt of the servant, etc. etc.). God's mercy upon us, His forgiveness of our sins is truly amazing, lavish, unimaginable, overflowing from His heart. But with this Gospel, we call our attention back to the only reason we can receive this mercy. The reason we have been made worthy to share God's company. For God's justice was not negated by His mercy, but rather He took upon Himself all that was due to us (justice) by man's sin. He has stood in the breech. He stands arms outstretched holding open the gates of mercy, that it may be poured out upon us.
The Son has been lifted up. Let us look upon Him Who has been wounded for our offenses, and believe. In all things we can have confidence, for He has already paid the full debt, sin cannot hold us down, our weakness, our fears don't have to consume us. When they begin to do so, let us turn the gaze of our heart to the cross, let us not let the burden He has already carried for us weigh us down. Let us grab onto the ladder set before us, in faith, that we might not spiral down into the pit, but rise by His grace through faith in what He has already accomplished for us, and find life.