In the Gospel reading today from John 1, we see an encounter between Jesus and Nathanael. Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew, says to Jesus, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” This after he had just met Jesus. Be sure to read Jesus’ response.
In the first reading today from 1 John 3, we see some very challenging words. St. John writes, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.” He goes on, “If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
As moral relativism continues to creep into the collective consciousness of the world today, there seems to be a greatly lowered standard of conduct, of what is pleasing to God. It manifests itself in this statement: “I’ve never murdered anyone! I’m a good person!” While for most people the fact that they have never murdered anyone may be true in a physical sense, is that the highest standard they need to achieve? We would do well to reflect on the words of St. John in today’s first reading. We may think that we have never murdered anyone. But the biblical notion of hating one’s brother may change that. To “hate” in this context means “to love less.” In other words, if we do not show love for all of God’s children, then we are guilty of murder. That’s a pretty high standard to live up to. And impossible – apart from the grace of God.
Father, convict us today of the many murders we commit by not loving others as we should. Give us the grace to live to the highest standards. Amen.