God Loved Us First

St John - Christmastide

Third Day in the Octave

1 Jn. 3:1-4 & Jn. 20:2-8

The great St. John, whose feast we keep today, wrote his Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse. He died an old man in 101 having been saved from a violent martyrdom.

“God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him (1 Jn. 4:16).” The more we understand God’s love for us, the better we will love Him and our neighbours as ourselves. Our ability to love is often shaped by our experience of love. Being loved is the most powerful motivation for us to give love in return. We usually love others as we have been loved.

Some of the greatest statements about God’s loving nature were written by a man who experienced God’s love in a unique way. At the Last Supper he had the great privilege of resting his head on Jesus’ breast. What an intimate gesture! No wonder it could be said of him that he was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Although Jesus’ love is clearly communicated in all four Gospels, it is in John’s that it is the central theme.

It is our duty to love God but John gives more importance to the fact of God’s love for us rather than our love for God. We must re-establish the proper order as revealed by the Word of God, once again placing the gift, God’s love for us, first before the commandment to love God; and putting the simple and overwhelming message that God loves us before anything else. Everything depends on this, including our own chance of loving God as we should.

Concerning love Jesus confronts each one of us as He must have confronted John. We cannot know the depth of God’s love unless we are willing to face the fact that He knows and loves us completely to the point that He suffered death to give you and me the opportunity to be with Him in heaven. Being aware of God’s love should be a great motivator for us to change for the better. His love is not given in exchange for our efforts. His love for us is always there no matter what type of sinner we are. He cannot stop loving us but it is we who shut His love from us by the way we choose to live our lives. His love frees us to live and be the people, the saints, He wants us to be. But how do we respond each day?

Lord Jesus, may we learn to love You as did Your beloved disciple John.