Read 1 John 3:11-21, Ps. 100, John 1:43-51 

“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” (1 John 3:16)

In today’s first reading, St. John teaches us that to love is to die. The only way to understand love is to examine what Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary. To love is to forget yourself. To love is to lay down your life for another person just as Jesus Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. So long as you are not willing to die to yourself, you are not in love.

Any relationship where both parties are only concerned about what they can get from the other person is a disaster waiting to happen. The fact that you are attracted to someone because of that person’s qualities (for instance, good looks, good behavior, sexual appeal, kindness, power, wealth, etc.) does not mean that you love that person. The other person’s qualities will either fade with time or you will get to realize they were only pretending or you might meet others who are far better.

Love is not a question of what you get from another; it is about what you are willing to give to others. St. John wonders: “How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us, love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 John 3:17-18). Love is not about sweet-sounding words; it is sacrificing oneself for others without demanding or expecting anything in return.

Today, a lot of people confuse emotional attraction with love. God expects us to love our neighbors as ourselves, not to be attracted to every human being on earth. God expects us to lay down our lives not just for those living close to us but especially for those that we don’t like; even our enemies.

Our love for others becomes concrete in our ability to bring people closer to God just as Philip did in today’s Gospel passage. Loving others is not only about giving them food, money, and other things that would sustain their physical bodies, you also need to feed their souls by telling them about Jesus.

Despite his reluctance, Philip was able to bring Nathanael to Jesus. It is not easy convincing others about coming out of darkness to embrace the light but we dare not give up based on the difficulties and obstacles we encounter. If you truly love a person, you will not let that person die in sin without bringing him or her to Jesus. 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may I never be led astray in the name of love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday Before Epiphany. Bible Study: 1 John 3:11-21, Ps. 100, John 1:43-51).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu