Tuesday after Epiphany
1 John 4:7-10 + Mark 6:34-44
January 7, 2020
…He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins.
The last sentence of today’s First Reading sums up the entire Gospel message. “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins.”
The backdrop for this verse is the truth that “God is love”, which John declared two verses earlier. This verse, then, expands on that definition, answering the implicit question, “If God is love, what is that love like?”
Like any clear reasoner, John first answers by telling us what God’s nature is not. God’s nature is not such that He demands our love first, before He gives us His. God does not play games with His love (that is, with His own Self). He does not exchange His love on a quid pro quo basis, as we human so often do, both with our neighbor, and even with God.
The foundational truth about God is the primacy of His love. We might even say that this helps us understand how the First Person of the Trinity is God the Father: because His love within the Godhead is primary.
However, in terms of the economic Trinity, God’s love always comes before ours: both in terms of His creation of us, and in terms of responding to our sinfulness. In the face of our refusal to love Him, He chooses to love us and to heal the breach by sending us His only-begotten Son, “as expiation for our sins.”