1 John 4:19-21.5:1-4; Luke 4:14-22
The gospel from Luke and the reading from John are about love, the love from God and our love for him. The gospel from Luke tells us that the love from God has no limits and is non-discriminatory. He sent his son to love and serve the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed, and Jesus tells those in the synagogue that it is he who will fulfill the prophesy of Isaiah. He has come to share his love with those in the synagogue, but also with all of us. His love brings us joy if we are open to it when we are destitute in spirit. His love brings us liberty from the captivating temptations of this world. His love clears our blindness and opens our eyes to the many gifts that he has bestowed on us. His love frees us from the oppression of greed, hatred, jealousy and revenge.
In the reading from John, we learn what it means for us to love God. We are told that we cannot love God without first receiving his love. We cannot love God without loving all others. This love for others is not just for our families and friends, but also for those who are the most difficult for us to love. It is not enough to avoid or tolerate those who irritate, belittle, hurt us or act in other ways that are most difficult for us to over-look. God wants us to love those who are the most difficult for us to love. He knows our human limitations and does not expect perfection but does expect us to be trying. The only way that we can grow our capacity to love is to forgive the real and perceived wounds inflicted on us. We do this by finding the beauty that is God himself in all others.
May we ask for the grace to allow God’s love for us to be mirrored through us to all others.
By Susan Tinley