Christmas Tide (10th January, 2019)
First Reading: 1 Jn 4:19-5:4
Gospel: Lk 4:14-22
Today we have a beautiful message from the first reading taken from the first book of St. John. The first sentence of the reading says, “We love because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). It means that God sowed in us the seed of love in our hearts which later grows in us and spread that love to one another. It also means that God brings about change in our hearts so that we can reflect His grace to others. It is thus a call to realise that one can’t take credit to oneself for loving others because that is a gift we have received from God and we only become instruments to pass it on to others.
The question is how to express that God loved us first and that the love we share with one another is the love of God itself? It needs first of all recognition that we are creatures of God or that we owe our existence to Him. This is a primary thing because the moment one feels that one exists or one’s own ability or capacity, we lose the sense of our belongingness to Him. We need to go back to the creation of our first parents who were made in His own image and likeness. It is not our image is akin to His but ours is akin to His. Here what we are and have is all for Him. Jesus says indeed, “it is not you who called me but I who called you”. Prophet Jeremiah says, “He knows us even when we were in the womb of our mother. Thus, we owe our existence to Him.
Secondly, we are able to love God the Father because he has loved us. We can take the illustration of a family situation. In the family, we know that children are able to love the parents because the parents loved them first and not vice versa. The love of the parents to the children there is spread to love of brothers and sisters. In the same way, God loved us first and we return that gift of love by loving Him as well as one another. This aspect is necessary because we can’t say that I love God when I can’t see if we do not love those whom we see. The other is necessarily the image and likeness of God Himself. If our love of Him is true, it must be expressed in loving one another too. So, St. Paul Says, “By your loved, they will know that you are Christians by your love’. Let us be grateful to Him for showing His love upon us first and reciprocate the same by loving Him and one another. Amen.