God is Love

05-06-2018Weekly ReflectionFather Tony Okolo, CSSp

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Peter proclaims that God shows no partiality "Rather in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him." This is because God is love and shows his love to everyone no matter your circumstance or state of life. He shows his love to everyone no matter where you are or where you come from. Thus, anyone who opens himself or herself to him will experience the depth of his love. The only obstacle to witnessing God's love in our lives is when we close ourselves to his love. This can happen when we fail to believe in him, obey him or keep his commandments, but even at that he still loves each one of us in an amazing way.

The theme of God's love also is seen in the second reading, "everyone who loves is begotten by God for God is love". Then, in the Gospel Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you, and remain in my love; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love. Just as I have kept my Father's commandment and abide in his love."

One thing that stands out in today's Sunday liturgy and all through the readings is the love of God for us. As Jesus himself told us, "Greater love no one has". This statement of Jesus was not made in an emptiness or vacuum. What Jesus said was especially true for himself. According to John's Gospel "God so loved the world that he gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in him has eternal life" (Jn 3:16). That is to say, that God gave his son to our world, gave him to a crucifying death for our own sake that the world may be saved. God gave his son that each one of us will find meaning in life through him. In John's first epistle he reiterates what the Gospel said, "God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the expiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:9-10). If God has done this for us, what do we do to reciprocate this love he shown us? It is a question everyone should answer for himself or herself.

Furthermore, Saint Paul reflecting on the love of God in his writing to the Romans says, "Rarely will anyone die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us". This is a very profound statement to reflect on, that while we were still sinners God died for us. He gives us the insight of his love for humanity (Rom 5:7-8). The fact is that God's only son was born like any of us were born and died more cruelly than any of us may ever die. When we ask for what purpose, it is so that you and I might have life; a life that may never die.

On our part, to love one another is not a platitude but a prescription, not a counsel but a command. Jesus in this particular speech uses the word "LOVE" eight times in sixteen lines. Laying down of one's life will often mean a lot of little laying downs of our selfishness for the good of others. When we are selfish and refuse to love, we build a wall around ourselves and condemn ourselves to a winter of loneliness and bitterness. But when we love and care, the wall falls down and we experience a springtime of joy and peace. Let us allow the Holy Spirit which has been poured into us to fan the flame of love into action.

Happy Sunday to you all as I pray that this love of God continues to manifest in your lives and individual families.