God’s Love in Word & Deed: Life!
Today we continue the celebration of the Epiphany, the “manifestation” of Jesus to the world. As the Holy Family of Bethlehem welcomed the Magi, Jesus is indeed shared with the world as its loving Savior! Amen!
Today’s Scriptures are proper for the Christmas season, drawn from the First Letter of St. John and St. Mark’s Gospel. Both remind us in special ways that God loves us totally in the Person of Jesus.
Saint John makes the point quite clearly when he says that this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us and sent His Son as an offering for our sins. We’ve done nothing to merit the incarnation of God’s Son…God took the initiative, lovingly and freely.
In His life and ministry Jesus showed this special love in His every word and deed. Jesus freely taught the vast crowd, not like a contracted professor at a famous university being paid to teach – but as an act of heartfelt love, free of charge. He went one step further: He miraculously fed the hungry crowd with just five loaves of bread and two fish…with lots of leftovers, having fed well over five thousand people! That kind of love can’t be bought or forced.
Jesus’ gratuitous love continues to reach out to people of all times and places, inviting them to live and then share His love. Today is the feast of a “contemporary” loving disciple: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the 19th Century foundress of the first women’s religious congregation in the United States, and the first native-born U.S. citizen to be canonized. Her special love for God included families, children, the poor of her day—sharing a striking example of generosity, service, and holiness based on her intimate relationship with Jesus.
Everything we have is a gift from God: our lives, our faith, our vocation, even the energy and talents with which we serve God and earn our living here on earth! What Jesus did for that early crowd He does for us: he graciously teaches us through the Scriptures and feeds us with his own Eucharistic Body and Blood. God’s Love in Word and Deed!! Amazing!!
May our New Year’s 2022 resolutions help us live faith-filled lives of gratitude and service, flowing from the Life and Love which is Jesus.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.