Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wednesday word, 09 Jan 2008

Wednesday after Epiphany (09 Jan 2008) 1Jn 4. 11-18; Ps 72; Mk 6. 45-52
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our “Real Function”

God loves us first; God’s love is sheer gift: that’s the conviction the First Letter of John offers us. It’s a conviction we can never hear too often. God’s gift and its effects have a consequence for our lives: Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.

Divine love surpasses the emotion we call by the same name. Divine love continues to create us. Jesus demonstrated that living in divine love, that is, living in harmony with God’s desires for us, recreates us, fashioning us more and more into our true selves, who we really are and how we are to be in the world.

Vincent Van Gogh, a minister before he was an artist, offered an image to help us appreciate that we have a true way of being in the world. He said this.

“There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love, as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light (and this is its real function).”

The disciples grew to be those God had created, the first collaborators with God’s son, Jesus. They did not function that way until they had been with Jesus. Even when they saw him feeding the multitudes and walking on the sea, they were still in the dark, as Mark put it, their hearts were hardened. The more they abided with and in Jesus, the more open to Jesus’ Spirit they became.

God is with us in Jesus. How do we invite God in Jesus into our lives? Remaining in God does not mean being stuck or hiding. It means, abiding, dwelling in God. Christian love-life is mutual: welcoming God, who first loves us. We begin our side of this mutual love by pausing to notice how God is in our daily experiences.
Wiki-image of Van Gogh's "Partial First Steps" is in the public domain.

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