January 6, 2021 – Wednesday after Epiphany
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010621.cfm)
Christmas is not yet over. The excitement of the celebration may have subsided by now because the joyful spirit of the Misa de Aguinaldo, the Christmas Day and Christmas celebrations are over, but then, the spirit of Christmas is still very alive. It’s the 12th day after the Christmas day but we are still in the Season of Christmas.
That is why, John, in his First Letter today reminds us of the spirit of Christmas. John said, “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” The Babe of Bethlehem, Jesus is the very love of God made into flesh. He is love in its fullness, love in its perfection. Even when we would just behold the image of the Child Jesus in the manger, what we find is only love. It is love that compels us to recognize that we are indeed loved though we are not worthy.
God becoming man is not a question of our worthiness because we will never be worthy. It is God’s greatest assurance to us that God continually chose us as His people. The “love” that rests on the manger calls us lovingly to come near and to be embraced by this God who truly loves us.
God becoming man is statement to us that God does not come to terrorize us with His might. God became man not because God wants to bring eternal punishment to us and make us fearful of His presence. God became man, born of a woman and took the form of a baby, because God wants to express His affection to us. Hence, we are called to remain in love so that we remain is God.
When we learn to remain in God, God also pours his love to us. Being loved and taking confidence that we are loved will definitely dispel any fear and any insecurity in us. This is what John is also trying to say to us telling us to love one another and to show concretely that love in our words and actions.
This is the reason why John also reminds us today that “there is no fear in love.” There is only confidence and true joy in love because love drives out fear! Wow! If only we embrace this, then, we will be bold in our loving, courageous in our loving and daring in our loving. This reminds us too that when our way of loving has a trace of insecurity or manipulation or jealousy or anger or selfishness motivated by fear, then, our love is not perfect.
This is what Mark in his Gospel also recalls today. Jesus reminds his disciples not to be afraid. The disciples seemed to be terrified and forgot that Jesus was always with them. Jesus is always close to us if only we are conscious of this, then, the Lord will make us courageous enough in what endeavor we will initiate.
Let us also take note how Mark described this story. Jesus responded to his frightened friends because Jesus was aware of their situation. What could have made Jesus to be so thoughtful of them? Mark told us that Jesus went off to the mountain to pray. To pray is a way of loving too. To pray is making ourselves aware of the situation of those who are in need. Certainly, true prayer moves us to respond in love to those who need our help. This is what Jesus showed us today. Jesus responded in love to assure his friends not to be afraid because he was with them.
As we continue to cherish and savor this season of Christmas, let the words of John echo in our hearts today “to remain in love because there is no fear in love.” Let us allow the Lord to accompany us always so that we will also remain in him, remain in love and to respond in love all throughout this year. Hinaut pa.