God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life…
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.
Today was the last religion class I had with my 7th graders. They are getting ready for their promotion ceremony. We have begun each session this school year by reading and reflecting upon the gospel of the day. I found it suiting that the gospel for today, our last day of class together, contained the most quoted/cited bible verse of all time – John 3:16!
It was the perfect opportunity for me to recap/review some things that I really wanted them to remember as they leave me and go off into the big world. I reminded them of just how much God loves them. “God loves each of us as though there were only one of us.” (St. Augustine) I reiterated our need to spread the good news of the gospel – especially with our actions – “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” (St. Francis) We must be Christlike if we want to draw others to Christ. We prayed for one another and reflected upon the lessons we’ve learned this year. It was great!
The end of today’s gospel struck me as well. It made me think of a guest speaker we had at our PTA meeting last night. The gentleman spoke extensively about child predators and internet dangers. It was quite frankly daunting. We’ve advanced greatly in technology in the last ten years, but we’ve put our children at greater risk in the process. When I returned home last night, my mind was racing, so I decided to watch some television to try to distract myself. I surfed hundreds of channels – almost nothing by sin and smut. I settled on House Hunters International until I was tired enough to go to sleep.
Our children are bombarded with immorality everywhere – magazines, television, radio, internet, etc. It is so difficult to raise holy children in these times of darkness. The world has traveled so far from a godly path. How can parents protect their children from these dangers and terribly immoral influences? How can we live in the world and not be of this world? How can we experience light in the midst of such spiritual darkness?
The only way that I know to do this is to immerse ourselves and our families in prayer, the sacraments, and the Word of God. Become good friends with our children’s’ guardian angels and patron saints and beg their prayers daily. Educate ourselves on the dangers out there and monitor what our kids are doing as best as we can . After all is said and done, we have to “Let go and let God” – trust that the God who loved us enough to die for us will take care of those who love Him.
Lord Jesus, protect my children from physical, mental and spiritual harm. Jesus, I place my trust in You. Amen.