Grace to you!
Discovering biblical characters fascinates me. Theirs stories remind me that those who reach the finish line aren’t from another planet. They are like us. Take for instance Saint John who is called the beloved apostle of Jesus. [By the way, apostles were the twelve men appointed by Jesus during his time to lead his people] John is the claimed author of the Gospel of John, and the first, second and third letters of John in the New Testament part of the bible. One of his famous quotations is “God is love” (I John 4:8) and his ministry could be summarized in terms of love. How he discovered true love may interest you too and I would love to share some thoughts about it.
Tradition has it that John lived longer than all of the apostles. So, during his old age, the community of faith would invite him to share the message of God with them. It was said that he would tell them, “God is Love…. Love one another”.
John witnessed the love of God firsthand through his relationship with Jesus. He found true love in Jesus and his writings reflect that love. He saw how Jesus reached out with compassion to the anawim – the poor, orphans, widows and foreigners (strangers). He listened to Jesus tell the story of the Good Samaritan which was about how a gentile (gentiles and Jews were enemies) helped a Jew who was completely neglected by his fellow Jews when he was attacked, robbed and was stranded. He took note of Jesus’ story of the Good Shepherd who for the love of his sheep would die so that they will have life. He also saw Jesus willingly choose to die for his people. These and many other events in the life and activities of Jesus must have made profound impact in the life of John.
You may not have been privileged like John to witness this love firsthand but the same Jesus plus the community of faith John was part of is well and alive today in the Church? Let me give an example.
A woman shared a testimony with me how she found the love of God through the tenderness of Catholic Christian women in her community. According to her, she hated everything Catholic; but when she hit bottom, felt completely unloved, and her exploitative friends abandoned her, it was a group of Catholic women in her community that came to her rescue, showing her the love of Jesus firsthand. Members of the Church should better do this all the time.
Are you or your loved one like this woman? Have you been looking for true love but never have found it? True love is at the core of our faith as Christians. Jesus’ heart is large, expansive and inviting to welcome you, no matter how dark you think your soul is or how disgruntled or cranky your life has become or how unloved you assume you are. Love was the very reason Jesus died for all of us. His love captures the aspirations of your heart. This love wants a home. You are the home of God’s love.
May you please pray with me “Oh Lord, my heart is ready for your love.” Amen.
God love you. God bless you.