At the beginning of today’s first reading you heard these words: “We love because God first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19). This tells us that all godly love comes from God, not only this, but all love that is true comes from God. Our love for God is not an automatic response. It is the free gift of God to us and to everyone who believes and accepts God’s love.
In this reading we can find the seed of all that we need to know
about God’s love; our relationship with God in that love, and our
relationship with one another in that same love. This is an
over-simplification of course. Volumes have been written about the subject of God’s love, and our love of God. Tens of millions of
sermons have been preached about the subject of God’s love.
It is my task now to suggest how we can take that seed of the
knowledge of God’s love and nourish and cultivate it so that we can better respond to God’s love and love one another as the Bible tells us we should do.
Early in this reading the author of this letter tells us quite bluntly
that those who say they love God but hate their brothers or sisters are liars. Some of them may be. But in the light of what we know about modern psychology I think it better to say that for those people their understanding of love is incomplete. This 1st letter of John teaches us how we may come to have a more complete understanding of the love we should have for God and for one another. If we love God with all of our heart and soul and mind, then we should be able to love even those who are difficult to love.
The sign that we are capable of loving other people equally as
children of God is that we can naturally and willingly obey the
commandments of God, which are mostly about love. It is by our faith that we are able to do this.
Pray for this faith, that it may be strong and sustaining, and
pray for this love that it may be deep and wide!
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