Scripture Reading: John 21:16
Dear child of God, you are indeed blessed to be around the banquet of the Divine Word. Jesus in today’s scriptural reading asked thrice: “Do you love me?” Peter was perturbed at these questions. Maybe he was not feeling comfortable with the questions asked him. In his hurried nature, Peter would not give a damn on such question. He answered, “Yes Lord. You know that I love You.” How could he claim to have loved Jesus when some days ago he had denied Jesus in the presence of Jesus’ persecutors? The Lord was about showing him something else, what it means to love. To love Jesus in the context of the scriptural reading was to show total involvement or concern for members of the society, because members of the society are a reflection of the person of Jesus on earth. Love is not an action practised in the void; it is extended from a particular self to another. If the Lord had asked Peter if he loved Him, He was referring to the fact that loving Him entails loving the other members of the society. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of love. Love is that distinctive character of all Christians (Jn.13:35). It is not negotiable. It was the life of love that the Gentiles in Antioch saw that made them call the early believers “Christians”. (Acts. 11:16) The underlining factor of the Ten Commandments is LOVE. The first three commandments stipulate love for God, while the remaining concerns our relationship with our fellow men, dealing with them in love. Hence, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria says, “We should love and feel compassion for those who oppose us, rather than abhor or despise them, since they harm themselves and do us no good, and adorn us with crowns of everlasting glory, while they incite God’s anger against themselves.” You MUST love even your oppressors, the Lord commands everyone.
Love has traits. Apostle Paul writing to the people of Corinth, expounds on what it means to love. Love is patient, kind, without envy. It is not boastful or arrogant. It is not ill-mannered, nor does it seek its own interest. Love is not provoked to anger; keeps no score of offenses. It does not take delight in wrong, but rejoices in truth. Love excuses all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love does not end. (1 Cor. 13:4 – 8) If you possess diverse gifts and do not have love in you, O Child of God, you are nothing (1 Cor.13:2). Love cannot be dismissed from the life of a Child of God like you; it is your character trait. All other virtues are subsumed in love. Love has social dimensions. My brethren, if Jesus asks you today: “Do you love
me?” Your answer probably will be in the affirmative and very spontaneous. You will be able to answer, Lord, you know how many times I pray to you; you know how many times I fast in a week; you know how many times I study the Holy Scriptures; you know how many times I visit you in the Blessed Sacrament; You know how many times I attend mass in a week, etc. All these are part to loving Jesus; but love is extended. Love finds its true meaning in that intrinsic relationship we have with members of the society. God is Love, for He first loved us by sending us His Son to die in our place (Jn. 3:16). No one can claim to have seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, because He is Love. (1 Jn. 4:12) St. John cautions: “If anyone says. ’I love God,’ while he hates his brother, he is a liar. How can he love God whom he does not see, if he does not love his brother whom he can see? We have received from him this commandment; whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 Jn. 4:20-21)You cannot claim to love God and hate your fellow man, for in loving your fellow man, you are loving God.
Jesus in relating what it means to love Him situates the experience of such love in our relation to the members of our society. Those who claim to love Him are those who have extended gestures of love to their fellow men. These are those who have loved Him: those who saw their fellow men hungry or thirsty and provided food and drink to them; naked or a stranger and accommodated such into your abode; sick and you came visiting; in prison and you came to see me. (Mt. 25:31-46) On the last day, judgement shall be based on love. O child of God, you cannot stop loving and still claim to be a child of God.
Is 48: 17-19; Ps 1: 1-2. 3. 4 and 6 (R. Jn 8:12); Mt 11: 16-19
ADVENT WEEKDAY/ ST. JUAN DIEGO, H
- Thank the Lord for the gift of today’s sharing.
- Plead His mercy for the many times you have not loved.
- Ask for the grace of Love.
- Pray for those deprived of love in the society, that they may feel the divine power of love.
- Pray for the success of the 21 days Fasting and Prayers starting Friday 6th. January, 2017.
Exercise: Show love to someone’s life positively who might have offended you in the past by giving him/her a copy of Daily Strength Devotional. Invite him/her to join us in the 21 days Fasting and Prayer programme.
Memory Verse: Jn. 13:35