God first loved us

January 7, 2021 – Thursday after Epiphany

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010721.cfm)

The very first time we realize that we are attracted to a person whether physically or emotionally, this gives us a chilling effect (kilig moments). When we are young, meeting and seeing that person gives us the excitement. Moreover, when we have reached a matured age capable of mature loving, the more we also feel the wonder when we also realize that we are in love. This drives us to express our love in concrete ways and leads us to commit that love in a life-long commitment.

To be loved and to love is what really makes us human. In fact, when we do not feel that we are loved, this makes us also restless and empty. Then, our tendency is to look for ways where we could feel that we are loved. Sometimes, this leads us into unhealthy coping and even in abusive relationships just because of the need to be loved.

When we are also not conscious of our ways of loving, sometimes it leads us into selfish ways of loving. We might think that what we do are ways of loving, but in fact, they may be ways of keeping others under our control or under our manipulation. These expressions are not God’s way of loving. God’s love for us does not lead us to violence or manipulation. God’s love liberates us and lets us experience the fullness of life.

This is what John is telling us today. John has been proclaiming to us in the past few days the subject on love. John, today, reminds us that God first loved us. Because God first loved us, we all have the benefit of being loved and to enjoy that reality that we are indeed loved no matter what.

John’s point is to make us confident that we are being loved first. There is no doubt in that. Take confidence in this! You are loved. I am loved. We are loved.

Therefore, when we realize this, it moves us too, to love back. God’s love fills us and in our fullness, it naturally overflows in us. That is why, we are also capable of loving others because we are loved. John tells us that our way of loving is patterned from the source of love. Because God’s love does not control and does not do damage to others, our love also liberates others and rather brings healing to those whom we love.

Be careful when our ways of loving is of control and doing harm to others, then, it is not love and not from God. It is motivated rather by hatred and by lies. The source of this is the evil one.

Loving, as John also tells us, is not burdensome. That is why, keeping the commandment of God to love, is not heavy at all. How can it be heavy and oppressive when what we do is out of joy?

Jesus in today’s Gospel expressed such joy in the Scripture that he read, to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Love, then, brings healing, freedom and life. May this love fill our hearts today, so that our way of loving will also be transformed into God’s way of loving. Hinaut pa.

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