Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.-1 John 4:11-16
The second reading in today’s mass is from the first letter of St. John. This letter is a personal favorite of mine. There is so much theological depth and things we can use on an everyday basis. This letter is an extension of the Gospel he wrote, and we see a lot of talk about love. Today’s passage is especially challenging for us. St. John writes that to love is how we remain in God because God is love. In a world that seems to be about revenge and shaming to get what we want this may seem extreme. In fact, it is outright countercultural.
If we acknowledge and accept Christ as the Son of God then St. John says that we have come to know the love that God has for us. Since we know that love we have been called, and have the obligation, to love others. Even those who may not like us. This doesn’t mean that we need to have someone in our home who does us harm, but we have to acknowledge their worth as someone who is made in the image of God. Remember that God is love, and if we claim Christ then we have an obligation to reflect that love to others. Are we doing it?
The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.
–Pope St. Gregory the Great