For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
“I love you:” three simple words, but words that can carry many meanings. Saying “I love you” to a spouse has one meaning, another when said to an offspring, still another when said to a friend or acquaintance. In our Gospel for this Sunday we hear Jesus say: “……… I also love you.” To understand what Jesus means by these words we need to read the five words that precede them: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” The Father’s love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for the Father is not a romantic love (Eros) or the love of one friend for another (Philios), but rather an intense, absolute, and unwavering love (Agape).
Jesus’ love for us is not dependent on our ability to recognize and respond to it, nor is conditioned on our acceptance of it. Rather, Jesus loves us as we are, simply because we are. As importantly, Jesus loves us with the same love with which the Father loves him. It is an intense, absolute and unwavering love. Because of Jesus’ love for us, we are chosen and invited to be his friends, and called to love one another.
Of course, we always have the choice whether or not to accept Jesus’ love for us. The question is, though, why wouldn’t we accept it?
Our first reading for this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles shares the theme of the Gospel. In that reading we hear Peter proclaim: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”
Our second reading for this weekend elaborates on this theme as St. John reminds us that we are called and “to love one another because love is of God.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Perhaps I am deliberately naïve, but it seems to me that Jesus is eminently clear that God loves us. Yet many people see and/or speak of God as vengeful or wrathful. Why do you think this is?
- If we truly believe that God shows no partiality, why do some people try to restrict God’s love?
- What prevents us from loving one another?