Father David's Reflection for the Thursday between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord
The Responsorial Psalm persists with the Epiphany theme, “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”
1 John 4:19 to 5:4 concludes from this that we have to love the people of “every nation on earth.”
John argues, “Everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him.” This includes Jesus and all who have become “children of God” through belief in him. Therefore “those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also,” all who are God’s children by grace.
It is only a logical extension of this to say that therefore we must also love all those to whom Jesus was sent; that is, “every nation on earth.” Those who love God love those whom God loves, which includes all those to whom he sent his only-begotten Son. All.
Oddly enough, we sometimes have the most difficulty loving those who are close to us: people we grew up with, people we live and work with.
This is because we lose the sense of the mystery that is in them. Because our dealings with them are so commonplace, we begin to think of them as commonplace also. We take each other for granted.
This happened to the people in Jesus’ home town. Luke 4: 14-22 leaves out the end of the story, which was that after “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth,” they began to ask each other, “Is not this Joseph's son?” (end of verse 22). And from then on it was all downhill — literally, because “They got up, drove Jesus out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.” They just couldn’t accept divinity in a hometown boy.
Those who watched Jesus grow up, taking it for granted he was “the son of Joseph,” simply could not accept him as the Son of God. And we who deal with each other constantly as ordinary human beings find it hard to accept each other as children of God and as the body of Christ himself, who have “become Christ” by Baptism. We need to keep reminding ourselves to see and believe in the mystery of their being and ours.
Jesus “came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). That means we have to love equally those of “every nation on earth,” including our own. The background of all our dealings with each other should be, “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”
Initiative: If you want to know Jesus, accept him as universal Savior. See others as God does.
Recognize the mystery of God’s presence and call in each one