I love the times when we read from 1 John. I always get so much out of it when I read it. Today is no exception. In fact, today, like every day, St. John is speaking directly to me! He even has the nerve to call me a liar! More on that in a sec. Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 4 is one of my favorites. We see Jesus begin to reveal who he truly is. He unrolls the scroll in the synagogue, reads from Isaiah and says, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Powerful stuff!
St. John seems rather audacious today, what with calling me a liar and all. What do I mean? Listen…”If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Sounds pretty cut and dry to me. I don’t see any wiggle room here. But none of us like to think that we “hate” anyone, right?
It pains me to think that every day when I tell God that I love him, I really don’t mean it. Hypocrisy can be a harsh thing to live with. But if I take St. John at his word, then perhaps “Liar, Liar” would be an apt moniker for me. I’m just glad he didn’t include the old “Pants on fire!” line. It’s not that I mean to lie when I say I love God. I guess I’m just not as good at it as I should be. I guess this whole love thing is a lot like getting to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice.
Father, forgive us for those times when we proclaim our love for you, but fail to love our brothers and sisters here on earth. Give us the grace to practice loving those we can see. Amen.