Mass for the school children:
One of the most important things we can ever learn is that God loves us very much. God created us because of love: if he didn’t love us, he never would have made us, because God never makes anything that he doesn’t love. God is love, and so God can’t do anything other than love us.
Unfortunately, we can sometimes do something other than love God. He gave us free will, and sometimes that’s a problem. Sometimes that’s a challenge. God freely chose to love us, and so he wants us to freely choose to love him. But, because we have free will, sometimes we don’t do that. There are lots of things out there that we often choose to love instead: we might love things, choosing to care about the nice things we own rather than about other people or about our relationship with God. We might even choose to do things that turn us away from God, like following the crowd and doing things we shouldn’t, like bullying others, that kind of thing.
And the problem is, it’s easy to get distracted from God’s love. There are lots of people that try to get us to go the wrong way. It might be a commercial that convinces us that we have to have something we really don’t need. It could be someone who is trying to get us to try drugs or alcohol. It could be a person who tells us we’re ugly, or dumb, or just not a good person. All these voices are wrong, but we hear them so often, it’s hard sometimes to find God in all the confusion.
But there is a way. And that’s what today’s Gospel is all about. Because God loves us, he wants us to find our way back to him. He wants us to hear that he is still there, that he still loves us, even among all those voices who confuse us sometimes. He made us out of love, and he wants us to return to him one day and share eternal life with him. And when life confuses us and tries to convince us that we aren’t worthy of God’s love, he gives us Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the one way back to the Father.
And that’s good news, because we know Jesus, don’t we? We know that we can find him in our lives and especially here at Mass. We can be with Jesus as we hear the words of the readings, and as we come to receive him in Holy Communion. We don’t need all kinds of useless “stuff.” We don’t need drugs or alcohol or anything else. We are not ugly or dumb or unlovable. We are made by God who makes all things good and makes all of us out of love. All we need is Jesus who wants more than anything for us to know that God loves us. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever take your eyes off Jesus.