But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he lavished on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, that we might be justified by this grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7
Jesus is the manifestation of God’s loving kindness, showing by his very life and death God’s unconditional love for us. He cared enough to be born as one of us so that we could be born again. Jesus’ saving us does not depend on our good deeds; he saves us simply because he loves us.
Unconditional love is a difficult concept for many today since we are surrounded by conditions everywhere. If you pass this test, you can go to the next grade; if you bring in enough sales, you will get a promotion; if you try this new diet, you’ll be look good; if you are nice to me, I’ll be nice to you; if you wear this brand of clothing, you’ll be running with the best crowd. Even at Christmas, we wonder if we’ll be on the naughty or nice list when it comes to receiving gifts. So, when Jesus comes and saves us just because of His loving mercy and not because of anything we have done or could do, it’s difficult to comprehend. What a gift!
Titus tells us in today’s second reading that Baptism, our rebirth through water and the Holy Spirit, is tied in with Jesus’ birth. Just as Jesus is God’s Son, so we are reborn through Baptism and become sons and daughters of God. That is why we are “heirs, in hope, of eternal life.” We inherit all that God has promised, and we live in the hope of eternal life, looking forward to the renewal of all creation.
Since we are reborn as sons and daughters, sharing in Jesus’ own life and inheritance, we have many gifts to share. If we continued reading Titus’ letter, we would see that in faith we are called to realize that the greatest gift we have been given is to love, avoiding unprofitable controversies and quarrels, and using our time for good works to help all around us. When we give ourselves to loving others without expecting anything in return, then we are sharing in the life of Jesus, a life of unconditional love.
So, when we return from doing something good for someone else, sometimes getting no thanks and sometimes even being ignored or ridiculed for doing good, remember that God’s salvation through Jesus Christ came to us without our earning it in any way. Jesus frees us from sin and gives us His very own life powered by the Holy Spirit – unconditionally. This is the great, eternal gift we celebrate today, a gift we called to share everyday!
Jesus, our Savior is our twenty-seventh Ornament of Grace.
Observing the Beautiful Ornaments
What does it mean to you to be a son or daughter of God through Baptism?
How can you share something unconditionally with another of God’s beloved children today?