God First Loved Us

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Jun de Ocampo SVD – Berlin

Thursday 5th Week of Easter

The most profound joy and satisfaction in life have to do with our experience of loving and being loved. I believe that is what’s essential in life. Without this dynamic of love, life becomes meaningless and pointless.

Parents live in the atmosphere of the love they always have for their children and the love parents receive from their children. Outside the family, the love of friends can even become stronger and lasts longer than family bond. Love enables us to sacrifice ourselves for another. For any good we want to do or give to another, only love endures as the motive.

In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks to his disciples on this dynamic of love. Interestingly, he links love with joy. To paraphrase it, Jesus is saying: remain in my love so that my joy be in you and your joy may be complete.

In the gospels, joy is always linked with closeness to the Lord. So, Mary and Elizabeth express their joy in the Visitation event. At the birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the Magi are full of joy when they find the Lord. Joy is the best indicator that a person is living close to Jesus.

Jesus therefore did not say “If you keep my commandments” as a condition to be fulfilled by us first so that God will love us. Know that God first loved us.

As we move on in life, let us make it a habit every day to dwell on this awareness of God’s unconditional love for each one of us. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” It doesn’t make much sense to love others without first trusting in how much we are loved. From this dynamic of love, loving others, even when they are unlovable, has joy as its reward.

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