Our Gospel today gives us a verse of which Baptist believers are fond. Namely, John 3:16 “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.”
Twenty years ago when I was teaching grade school Religion, we often had non-Catholic children who attended our school because it was a “Private School.” They were unhappy in my Religion class because they hadn’t been raised to accept Catholic teachings.
In our written Religion tests, one thirteen-year-old boy would answer all questions by writing,, “John 3:16, THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!”
If you follow the rest of today’s Gospel you will see that boy would have been right if he understood that really believing in Christ meant a lot more than saying he believed. It would mean that he took Christ as the light of his life. Meaning, he let Christ’s secret promptings be the light shining on what he had to do, on what he had to avoid.
Like Jesus said in our Gospel, if that boy or any of us let Christ lighten our way, we would never have anything to hide.
Once, as a switch from the usual tests I put before the kids in my Religion classes back then, I asked each of them to tell a story. The assignment was, WRITE THE STORY ABOUT HOW YOU ONCE COURAGOUSLY STOOD UP FOR YOU BELIEFS.
That thirteen-year-old Baptist boy wrote, “I have to do it every day in this school.”
Then, just ten years ago a twenty-three-year-old Best Man at a wedding thanked me for all he learned in my Religion Class. That same boy.