Readings for Thursday January 7, 2010
First Reading: 1 John 4:19-5:4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72
Gospel: Luke 4:14-22
Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)
This year, as one of my goals for 2010, I have decided on a few specific virtues that I want to work on in my life. One of the virtues that I have chosen is the virtue of love. So it has been a true blessing for me to start the year off reading about God's love for us and also how we should love in this life. I have been praying for God to show me what it means to love more, and He certainly shows me everyday what love is really all about with my wife and my daughter. Saint John gives us a great reflection on love in today's first reading: "We love because He first love us." We see here that God is the source of love and it is because of Him that we are given this truly amazing gift. He chooses to love us, and because our God has chosen to share this great gift of love with us, we should also choose not only to love Him back but to share this love with the world.
Now, if it's one thing that I do know, it is that as Christians we cannot become complacent. We are meant to grow and to stretch ourselves. It can be easy to only concentrate on loving those closest to us, Lord knows that we all need to work on all of our relationships; but we cannot simply just choose to work on loving those that love us and those who it is the easiest to love. This is where we are called to expand our "network of love." If you have ever seen the Verizon wireless commercials, then you have seen the people walking around with the maps over their heads. This map is supposed to represent the people that they have coverage to, and by being in their network you could easily reach out to those people. I could tell you that if we all had a coverage map over our heads that showed all the people that I have actively tried to show love to and to live out my call to love, then my map would be pretty small. As Catholics we are called to more, we are called to love as Christ loved, and He reaches out with His network to love each and every day. We too should be actively seeking to expand our love to those around us, not just the people that it is easy to, but to all those that we can.
"Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 Jn 4:21) May we spend the rest of our days here on earth expanding our network of love.
Lord, thank you for loving us so much. Help us to love more fully and as you call us to. Help us to share your love with the world and to not hold anything back. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.