Reflection for Tuesday, January 4, 2022: 2nd Week of Christmas.
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"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God." (1 John 4:7)|In Shusaku Endo's Deep River, the character Otsu calls God the Onion. Like the vegetable, God has layers. As the lessons of love take hold, the membranes peel away. In the beginning were romantic thrills and heartbreak. "Let's fall in love" was the refrain. Green and eager for adventure, we did not see the long road head. Love received and given through the years is revelatory. Here we find meaning in earthly life. Loving and being loved answer our doubts. This treasure is lasting and its mystery envelopes us by the end.|In John's letter, love is the source. Each grain of sand is loved into being. So are we. From God flow endless forms of goodness. Each creature reflects the source. If we love, then we know God. If I ignore my messy needs or those of others, I do not know God. If I care for my neighbor but never enter a church, God is with me. We can ponder difficult texts to plumb the nature of God. We can soothe a child, comfort those stricken by the pandemic, and support strikers on the picket line. Our acts of love respond to the goodness already in the world. When we love, God moves through us. Love is the power that draws us together.|I do not link love to bliss. Love does not zap us into oblivion. We are stretched by love. A tension accompanies thoughtful judgments and actions. The interplay of spirit and body requires attention. Jesus sought respite from his mission, but a vast crowd followed him into the desert. "His heart was moved with pity for them." They were hungry for the words that shed light on their struggles. After hours listening, they needed food. Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes that stretched to meet their needs. To act from love multiplies our meager resources. |God sent his beloved. We need not toil under the weight of futility and failure. We are freed.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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