Daily Mass Reflections - 1/9
“Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us. Love is God.” ~ Lew Wallace
Much like yesterday’s 1st Reading (1 John 4:7-10), today’s passage from John (1 John 4:11-18) delves into God’s love and what defines it. The love of God our Creator is a far cry from the “I love my job,” “I love pancakes,” or the “I love the Pittsburgh Steelers” proclamations that pass for love in our word today, which of course aren’t really love in the truest sense of the word anyway. Nor is it the “go along to get along” love that prevails far too often nowadays, once again a mere imposter of the genuine article. Jesus loves us enough to teach us the truth and he fully expects us as his disciples to live by it and to defend it. When we fall, he forgives us but urges us to “go forth and sin no more.” This is our edict and once again, we are expected to strive to attain it.
God’s love as revealed to us is of a magnitude so profound that it compelled him to send his only begotten Son into the world so that we may have life through him. It is this love, John tells us, that should inspire us to love one another. For in doing so, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. He has in essence given us His Spirit. We’re reminded too that whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, once again God remains in them and they remain in God. That latter point bears repeating; the very notion that our God is so immeasurably generous and loving that he allows us to dwell in him is incredible and inspirational.
This passage concludes with yet another critical point to ponder when John declares that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” For many Catholics, particularly those of an older vintage, the notion of fear of the Lord has been a bedrock pillar of their faith foundation. And although it is a virtuous trait, perhaps it’s definition must be revisited and carefully reflected upon. Striking that proper balance takes wisdom, understanding and perseverance in prayer; may we all arrive at it.
In today’s Gospel (Mark 6:46-52) wherein Jesus walks on water, we are reminded that Jesus is forever with us, even during those times in which we find ourselves literally paralyzed with fear. Especially during those times as a matter of fact. “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50) he tells the Apostles on this dark and stormy night, just as he tells us during the dark and stormy nights of our lives. This story is an affirmation of Jesus’ divinity. It is the wise and faithful Christian who, when the chips are down, offers up the tried and true words that so many before them have prayed, “Oh my Jesus, I place all my trust in you.”