Homily for April 20th, 2016: John 12:44-50.
“Whoever sees me sees the One who sent me,” Jesus tells us in today’s gospel reading.
What do we see when we look at Jesus? We see that he preferred simple, ordinary people. He came to the world in an obscure provincial village on the edge of Nowhere, where nothing interesting or important ever happened. Jesus moved not among wealthy or sophisticated people, or among scholars and intellectuals, but among ordinary people.
Jesus was of the earth, earthy. In his youth he worked with his hands in the carpenter’s shop. His teaching was full of references to simple things: the birds of the air, the wind and the raging waves, the lilies of the field, the vine, the lost sheep, the woman searching for her one lost coin, leavening dough with yeast, the thief breaking in at night.
In preferring simple people and simple things, Jesus was showing us what God is like. He who is God’s word, God’s personal communication to us, is saying that God loves humble people. In his earthiness Jesus shows us God’s love for this world and everything in it.
Many people think of God and religion as concerned only with some higher, spiritual realm. Not true! God loves the earth and the things of earth. He must love them, because he made them. And God does not make anything that is not lovable. God made each of us, using our parents as his agents. And he loves us with a love that will never let us go.
How do we know that? Jesus told us himself when he said: “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). And Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans: “It is precisely in this that God proves his love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8).
That, friends, is the gospel. That is the Good News.