Truth be told, all of us have doubts. All of us struggle with issues in our life—where sometimes the pieces don’t fit together. Like Nicodemus we might ask our questions in private because we don’t want to appear to be stupid or lacking in Faith. Questioning can be confused with a lack of Faith—not a good conclusion. Fact is that everyone goes through some kind of questioning—crisis—doubting—even the Saints. Since Nicodemus was an elder among the Jews, he probably had some years of experience—late 50’s—60’s maybe older. A common symptom among senior citizens is to question, “Where did my life go? What’s going to happen when I die? Could I have done things differently?” Some times the older we get, the more we loose sight of basic truths. God made us; He loves us without conditions; one day—when we die—He’s going to take us to heaven to be happy forever. Things we should have learned in Kindergarten. Perhaps we were more disposed to believing them when we were in Kindergarten. As we get older and think that we are getting smarter, we are actually dumbing down. We start to depend on our own strength—our knowledge—our accomplishments. We forget that God’s in charge—that we are dependent upon His mercy. We forget that we do not or can not save ourselves.
All the good Pharisees were into obeying the Letter of the Law thinking that by obeying the Law they were working their way to salvation. We are not Jews, but there is still a lot of Pharisaical thinking among us—especially among Roman Catholics—especially around the Lenten Season. Fast, pray, say the Novenas—but not so that we can get God to love us, because God already loves us. The works of penance are for us, not for God. The Lord is not interested in seeing us on our knees, especially if we have knee problems. What kind of God would get pleasure of seeing His people suffer? Does the Lord desire that we bleed in order to show our devotion to Him? “Watered down” theology—where what Grandmother said became more important than what the Church has tried to teach.
Just like Jesus said, “People prefer the darkness—the bad news.” Lots of folks rather believe that the majority of us are going to be condemned because of all the sins being committed in the world. We have a much more difficult time believe that we have all been acquitted—that God is merciful and that we are already saved by His Passion and Death and Resurrection. Frankly, the message had better sink in because otherwise we are wasting our time. Who among us wants to come to a Church where the majority is going to go to hell? Who wants to join a sinking ship? Lest we become too wrapped up in our Lenten resolutions, the Church purposely puts this Gospel in the middle of Lent to reminds us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, not to condemn, but to save”—to save us from ourselves. Much depends on our willingness to trust. Regardless of our age—young or old—we know that we’ve messed up—some of us big-time. That’s OK if we are willing to ask forgiveness and be born again. Nicodemus is probably dancing around in heaven in spite of all of his mistakes. He can make it, we can make it.
There’s hope for the world. Each day offers us the opportunity to believe the truth—that we are loved more than we can imagine, certainly more than we can ever deserve.