As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son. And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up; but whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God.’
What clear words of our Lord to make us and the world aware that salvation is not possible without faith in Him, but that man is lost if he does not believe. Surely this is referred to those who consciously reject the faith and thus also the person of the Son of God and does not turn to Him. All attempts to reinterpret this in any way are doomed to failure and are led ad absurdum by the Word of God itself.
It is necessary to state this truth so clearly, for a view seems to be spreading more and more that it does not matter what religion one belongs to, the main thing would be to do good. If this were so, then the Lord would have taught us this and would then only have come to support us in doing good.
However, the text of today and other clear passages in the New Testament testify otherwise (cf. e.g. Phil 2:9-11), as does the authentic confession of the Church and the many martyrs, called Agnes, Agatha, Paul Miki and companions and many more.
I emphasise this because something like a kind of world government is looming on a dark horizon, which could form a syncretic world religion in its wake and in its support, or would appear with the claim that all religions are equal and lead to God. If this were to happen, it would lead us Catholics into a decision-making situation. Unfortunately, we cannot exclude that parts of our Church would even participate, perhaps even the majority.
But in following the Lord, it is important to stay with the recognised truth and never deny the Lord. He is the Redeemer of mankind, which should be made known to all people without exception, so that they may be saved and come to know the love of our heavenly Father in its fullness.
The point is to proclaim the love of our Father, which is especially manifested in the coming of His Son. “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) This message is for all times. So the kingdom of God is built up through those people who accept faith in Jesus and in this way form a community with God and with one another. This cannot only happen on a purely human level, but is primarily a work of the Holy Spirit who works together with the messengers of the Gospel to awaken faith in Jesus Christ. People who do not know the faith and have grown up in their own religion are not excluded from the love of God. No, they are included in the love of God who tirelessly seeks them out and addresses them in order to reveal His Son and lead them into His Kingdom. Therefore, an encounter with people who do not yet really know the Lord always should carries the deep desire that they may encounter the saving love of Jesus.
There can be many ways to achieve this!
Dialogue is also one of them, if it happens in the spirit of the Lord. However, the word of the Lord is never to be forgotten: “No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.” (Jn 3:18)
Also, for the sake of the idea of peace and harmony, e.g. with people of other religions, the Lord must never be anodised into the ranks of religious leaders in order to achieve something supposedly greater. That is an illusion and leads astray.
In what does “being judged” consist if one has not “believed in the name of the only Son of God”?
Surely the people who could have followed the Lord are meant here.
Indeed, they lack the deeper knowledge of Jesus and thus the deeper knowledge of the Father’s love. People have to live without this grace, which includes the forgiveness of guilt! They will always come to points where they do not get any real light for their situation and remain in danger of listening to others who are not sent by God and much more!
All the more we have a sacred duty to witness to the Lord and thus become messengers of fatherly love!