Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48 , 1 John 4:7-10, John 15:9-17.
During the creation of man, God made a very astounding statement. God says “let us make man in our image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27). In His image and likeness, He created man. Man is made to be and live like God.
In Matthew 5:48, Jesus asks his hearers to be perfect as the heavenly father. Therefore if God is love, His children cannot but love.
What truly distinguishes us as true children of God is love. Loving one another is our trademark. It is through this that everyone will know that we are truly disciples of Jesus (John 13:34-35).
In Ephesians 5:1-2, St. Paul reminds us to try to be like God and love as Jesus loves. All The readings of today are channeled towards this.
The way to love is not a romantic feeling as many misunderstand but the willingness to sacrifice, help, uplift and save others.
The second reading says that God reveals his love for us when He sends his only son that through Him we shall receive life.
Therefore, we exercise true love when we become avenues where others can survive, where others can receive life again, and when we become an instrument of hope and inspiration rather than an instrument of destruction. Love is not born out of selfishness, love is of God and love comes from the heart.
The Father’s Love.
1. In the first reading, the nature of God’s love was revealed in its entirety. To understand what happened in that reading we have to read from the beginning of the chapter of Acts 10. The Jews have this belief that God is for them alone. They are the chosen race and God makes use of them.
In this chapter, we meet a man known as Cornelius. Cornelius is from Caesarea and not a jew. But He was devoted to God and God-fearing. He gives generously to those who are in need. God saw how devoted he is and sent his angel to Cornelius.
The angel says to Cornelius “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have become an offering before God, now send men to Joppa to bring a man known as Simon who is called Peter (Acts 10:4-5). So, the visit of Peter to Cornelius came from God who saw how lovely Cornelius is.
Therefore when Peter came, Peter said “I now realize that does not show favouritism but accepts the one who fears Him and does what is right”.
Even while Peter was still talking, the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners, to the astonishment of the Jewish believers who are present at the gathering.
Therefore, This indicates how the love of the Father is. His love cuts across every race, every nation and every tribe. He shows no partiality. The reason everybody is alive and growing despite how sinful we are is this “The Father’s Love”.
2. The second reading affirms that God cannot but love. God is love means that everything that God does is born out of love. It is His essence to love.
The love of God is not discriminatory. He shows His love both to saints and sinners. In His goodness, He allows His sun and rain to fall on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
Jesus shows the type of Love, God the Father has for His children through the parable of the prodigal son. God demonstrates his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).
In His willingness to save us from sin and eternal damnation, God sends His Son to save us from eternal punishment and give us eternal life (John 3:16). In essence, God allows His Son to pass through the greatest agony to save the human race.
Hence, the revelation of the father’s love is seen in His willingness to offer His Son as a sacrifice. To be in God’s likeness and image is a call to love as the Father loves us, who is willing to go to any length to see that we are saved. We are not created to hate, we are created to live in peace and unity.
3. He who truly loves must be willing to sacrifice. In Genesis 22, Abraham proves His faith in God by His willingness to sacrifice Isaac His only son. In essence, to prove our true love for God, we have to sacrifice whatever may limit our closeness with Him.
This is when we can be willing to go the extra mile to prove our faith and love in God. God allows His Son to undergo torment to show us how He loves us and hence expects us to do the same to others.
4. The love of God is shown in the willingness of the Father to send His Son to suffer for us and the readiness of God the Son to accept this offer. In His love, He offered Himself for our salvation.
The measure of that love which exists between the Father and the Son is the same way the Son loves us. In the gospel, He says: as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you”. By this statement, Jesus assures us of His love.
God does not lie and if God does not lie, it means that Jesus truly means it when He says “I love you the way the Father loves me”. Therefore, this love is already available to us. We either accept or reject it. The problem is that we do not want Jesus. We rejected Him (John 1:11) and decided to do the way we want.
The Way to Experience the Love of God.
1. In the gospel Jesus reveals how we can experience God’s love in its fullness. He says “If you can keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and remain in His love. The Greek says μείνατε ἐν τῇ Ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐμῇ (meinate en tē agapē tē emē)meaning “abide in the love of me”.
The Greek word menate as used here means to remain, continue, stay. Hence, Jesus asks us that the only way to stay and experience His love is to keep His commandments. He points to the way He has done the Father’s will and asks us to do the same.
In His mission, Jesus is always close to the Father. He does not go against the will of the Father. He passes through the greatest torment to keep the will of the father.
Jesus is always in communion with the Father. Though He was in the form of God, but yet He humbled Himself.
In essence, He who does this way also remains close to God. He is free from condemnation, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He is free from guilt and free from troubles. Because He is certain and sure that God’s love is with Him.
When we remain with God and connect always with Him, peace comes to dwell, even in a crisis. Then there is no reason to fear because you are sure that God is always with you. Therefore we have to look to the way Jesus keeps the will of the Father.
Jesus is our model and exemplar. God loves it when we help others. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus singles out the Samaritan who was willing to help, unlike others.
2. In the mountain of transfiguration in Matthew 17, God the father tells of Jesus “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Everything about Jesus pleases the Father, and He calls Him his beloved.
In the same way, we make ourselves, true beloved of Jesus if we can do what pleases Him. In the gospel, He says “you are my friends if you do what I command you”.
And this command is to love one another. In John 13:34, he says “a new command I give you, you have to love another”. If we can keep to this, our lives will change, and God would be pleased the most.
3. To love another is a commandment that many neglects but when put into practice will save a lot of souls. “One another” as we see here means the other person living next to you. It means the poor and the rich people you meet every day.
It also involves those people we neglect and abandon to suffer. We have to be a source of life to them. How I wish leaders can apply just this law, everything else will take into place.
John reminds us of this when he says Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:21). If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).
The way to Love One Another.
In the gospel, Jesus says “love one another, as I have loved you” Hence this is the way we have to do to others. Jesus lays down his life for us and today affirms to us that there is no greater love than this.
Therefore Jesus expects us to do the same for others. Be willing to sacrifice and help those around you. Be willing to see others the way Jesus sees you.
Hence, if God loves us so much, we have to treat each other with compassion and love and not with hatred, selfishness, intimidation and hatred.
The second reading says that we must love one another because we come from God. Therefore since we are created in God’s way, we have also to treat others the way God treats us, allowing us to enjoy His natural endowments despite how unworthy we are.
But today we are in total crisis and disarray because those who are at the helms of affairs in this country are concerned only with their pockets. Many who are in a position to help people now must request something from you as if love has degenerated into a trade by a batter. Where do we go from here?
Every day the country continues to plunge into crisis. Many who are benefiting from the crisis remain mouth tied and people are suffering. Even the people are not helping matters themselves.
As the day goes by, they increase the price of goods thinking that’s the way to be rich, yet the more they increase, the more hardship and suffering besiege the nation. May God help us.
1.We have to love others the way the Father loves us. If God can keep us alive despite how sinful and atrocious we are, then we are to make sure that others are alive and surviving.
Sincerely if every person on earth can openly, willingly and sincerely practice the law of love to its fullest without thinking of the background the person is coming from or what to gain in return, the earth will be heaven.
When God does something for us, He is not doing them for any particular interest. He does them because He cannot but love.
In essence, if we are true children of God, let us imitate the Father. Love others as the father loves you. Love your wife, husband, brother, sister and neighbour, etc the same way the father loves you.
2. In fact loving another is the only way to show that we are true children of God. In the second reading, John says that everyone who loves is begotten of God.
The only way we can show that we are truly from God is to love the way He does. And the only way we can show that the devil has entered our hearts is to hate as the devil hates.
When hatred, wickedness, envy, jealousy enter your hearts, then know it is no longer the spirit of God that is in control of you. The Spirit of God is the spirit of Love, peace, and joy.
3. When we help one another, we can entertain God without knowing. In Genesis 18, Abraham entertained the angels of God without knowing because he showed some strangers hospitality.
In John 14:23, Jesus says “if anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my father will love Him. and we shall come to Him. Therefore, through this, we can invite blessings from God, blessings that we never imagined.
4. Many of us will come out to say that he loves God but the only way to show that we truly do is to obey His command. He says “if you love me keep my word (John 14;23).
We cannot say we love God but prefer to live in crisis and hatred. On this John writes “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20).
5. Through this, we can win the heart of the Father. Through this, we can encounter inner joy and peace and satisfaction.
Jesus says in the gospel ‘I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy be complete. And when we do these, we bear good fruits that will surely lead us to eternity and hence when you raise your eyes in prayers, your prayer becomes extremely powerful.
In the gospel, Jesus says “Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. What I command you is to love one another”.
6. Finally, the question for us then is “how many people have neglected to save? How many people do we insult because they come to us for help?
Do people come to you and instead of helping them, you give them conditions they must fulfil before you do? Did God also give us a condition?
If you are a leader, how many souls have you truly saved since you occupy the position? Are you interested only in your pocket or the salvation of souls?
Can we treat others the way God loves us? Can we forgive those who have offended us when they come to seek forgiveness? Why do we enjoy living in wickedness, hatred and evil?
Why are our leaders keeping quiet and allowing insecurity and hunger to continue to ravage our nation?
If the love of one another can be applied in our dealings with the people we meet in life, there will be true change, peace, unity and progress. Every family that loves each other sincerely is already in another world.
How beautiful it is when couples live in affection, when siblings love each other, when families unite together and when a nation considers the people first before their pockets. May God help us.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to remain always in His Love. Amen