In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.
“I believe in One God,” we will say together shortly as we start the Creed, what the Church calls the Symbol of Faith. But what, dear brothers and sisters, do we mean by “believe”? What do we affirm when we say this together? To believe has many meanings, many definitions—I believe tomorrow is Monday, I believe the shop has some milk, I believe I know an answer.
The Lord speaks to each one of us when he tells us “that whoever believes in him,” that is, in Christ, “may have eternal life.” We are told elsewhere by the Lord, in one of the scariest verses in the Gospel, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) To believe in the Lord, then, cannot mean to feel it deep down, to say mere praises to God but then do no more. Because to believe is, for us Christians, also to have faith, which also means to be faithful. If I am faithful in a relationship then it is not only that I know it exists, but I do all I can to nurture and grow the relationship; I sacrifice myself and my priorities for the sake of the other.
And I look at myself and I reflect on what I mean when I say, “I believe in One God.” Do I mean it as “I know God exists”—something the demons can also say—or as “I put my faith and trust in One God and I will be faithful to him”? And if the latter, what am I practically doing to nurture and grow my faith and trust? Because, if I claim to remain faithful in a friendship, but take no notice of my friend until he has something I want, then am I being faithful? If I claim I am faithful to God yet ignore him until I have a need for him, likewise am I faithful?
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God is calling each of you to believe in him, to put your faith and trust in him, to be faithful to him. Because, as we are told in today’s Gospel, “whoever believes in [Christ] may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That we may place all our faith and hope in the true and loving God and come to worship him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in a union of faith and love. Amen.
The Lord said, “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
— John 3:13–17