Thursday after Epiphany
1 John 4:19—5:4 + Luke 4:14-22
January 7, 2021
… whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
God loves every person, for it’s God’s very nature to love. Certainly, God at times withholds certain graces from His beloved children so that they might be purified, or grow in longing for Him. Likewise, God bestows certain graces called “charisms” upon certain of His children but not upon others. Nonetheless, God never at any moment fails to love each human person. This love sustains each person in being and calls each fallen person to greater holiness.
Since God loves unconditionally, and since man is called to live in the likeness of God, each human being is called to love unconditionally. Naturally, it’s more difficult to love one’s neighbor than to love God, for God is more lovable. Yet God does not love a person because that person is lovable. God loves a person in order to make that person lovable. St. John points to this truth in today’s First Reading: “Beloved, we love God because He first loved us.”
If and when you do not love another human person, then, you are not acting in the likeness of God. This truth does not mean that love never makes any demands of another. Indeed, God’s love demands that one become like God in how one loves, in all the forms that love takes, including the forgiveness of sins. In the Crucifixion of Jesus we see most profoundly that God does not love us in spite of our sins. He loves us right through our sins.