Wednesday after Epiphany
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Mass
1 John 4:11-18; Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13; Mark 6:45-52
Today’s first reading speaks to us of the most important characteristic of a Christian person, the characteristic of love. There is so much to unpack here, much more than we have time for now. I’d like to encourage you to spend some time praying today with this scripture and let God speak to you through it.
The essential message of the passage is that as Christians we are called to love one another: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.”
Since God has loved us (the “beloved”), we also ought to love one another in the same way. We can participate in Christ’s own love for us by laying down our lives for one another—that is, by caring for one another, both spiritually and materially, and by being ready even to die for one another.
In his exhortation to us to love one another, John adds an important point: “No one has ever seen God.” At first reading, this might seem to be out of place in a passage on the importance of loving one another. While we know that we can not see God with human eyes, Jesus, the Word made flesh reveals the Father to us: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
But now with Jesus ascended to the Father’s right hand, how is God to be “seen” among the faithful? Through the practice of loving one another. If we love one another, God remains in us and he’s made known on earth through his children – all of us here today who have been baptized and have faith in Christ – when we love one another.
Here’s the really cool part, that as we love our brothers and sisters, God’s love is brought to perfection in us. John says “God abides in us and the love that comes from him reaches perfection in our love for others.” The love that God has shown to us in Christ reaches its perfection in us when we show this same love to one another.
Another important theme in today’s reading is that of abiding in God. How do we know that we truly abide in God? John tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit that we know this. He tells us that God has given us his Spirit. For John, one of the hallmarks of the Christian life is the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit within us. God has given us his Spirit through Christ, and therefore we have a share in his life and power.
If we are honest, many of us don’t often pray to the Holy Spirit, do we? We pray to the Father and to the Son, but probably not so much to the Spirit. Yet it is the Holy Spirit that dwells within us! It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to live a life that is pleasing to God!
I’d like to do a little plug for a faith formation class starting next week on how we can experience a deeper encounter with the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. We’ll be watching and discussing an amazing 14-week series that provides practical suggestions as to how we can open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. This will be offered Wednesday evenings at St. Joseph School from 6:30-7:45. Details can be found on our website.
Finally, there is an amazing benefit we gain as we grow in love by serving our neighbor and responding to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.
As God’s love is brought to perfection in us, we will have FULL CONFIDENCE on the day of judgment. John tells us that “because as he is, so are we in this world.” This means that in love we BECOME LIKE CHRIST and therefore we’ll be able to stand in confidence before him when we meet him face to face at the end of our life here on earth.
As God’s love comes to maturity in us by living as faithful disciples of Christ in the world, we will experience confidence, rather than terror, before God on the day of judgment!
So, dear friends in Christ, let us reflect today on God’s immeasurable love for us and let that love be our motivation to love one another in whatever way we are called. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to keep us in this love and to be confident of his mercy as we share his love with others.
By living in an attitude of love every moment of every day we will surely experience God’s perfect peace and he will dispel all fear from our lives. What more could we ask for!