Daily Reflection
January 5th, 2001
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
English Department

First John 3:11-21
Psalms 100:1-5
John 1:43-51

All people crave love.  In today's readings the apostle John talks about love, and what it means.  He tells us how we came to understand what love is.  We learn about love from Christ who lay down his life for us.  Just think about that.  Christ loved us so much that he suffered the terrible ordeal of the passion and a truly painful death for us.  He loved us enough to do that for us.  It is an example of true love.  But it is not enough that we appreciate the great love that Christ has for us.  We must also try to imitate the love of Christ, and show it to others.  As John says: "We too must lay down our lives for our brothers."  We have to have enough love for our brothers that we would be ready to surrender our own life to save theirs.  And we do have such examples of love in today's world.  Think of soldiers in combat who die heroically to save their comrades.  Think of people who donate vital organs and put their own lives at risk to save the life of a family member.  Think of heroic rescue situations where a number of people are rescued but the rescuer dies from the dangers of the rescue.  Yes, we do see love around us, and each of us needs to ask himself, am I a loving person?  John tells us that the man who does not love is among the living dead.  Surely we don't intend to be numbered among the living dead.

The other thing that John tells us today is how important it is to believe in and follow Jesus.  Philip and Nathanael  were attracted to Jesus as soon as they met him and willingly followed him.  We are also called to know and follow Jesus.  We don't have the advantage of a physical encounter with Jesus as man like the apostles did, but we have the advantage of knowing Jesus through faith.  That was something that came to the apostles only gradually during the public life of Jesus.  To know Jesus is to love him, and to love Jesus is to want to follow him.  So, if we really know Jesus, we will love him and follow him.  John preceded us in knowing, loving and following Jesus.  And the longer he lived, the stronger was his love.  Today he asks each of us who hears these readings to follow his example; to know, love and follow Jesus in our lives.

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