Thursday after Epiphany
Reading this section of First John is a challenge for me because I haven’t always lived by this maxim, “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” In elementary school and in junior high, I fought often. I didn’t respect others as I should have. I acted like a bully and was bullied back in turn. I didn’t serve as a good example of loving my neighbor. I oftentimes remember this and I feel like a hypocrite professing the message of Christian love. I often look back and wish I hadn’t acted the way I did when I was younger.
I learned from these experiences though. I learned how important it is to love and respect your neighbor. So I can say from experience that what First John says to us is true. If anyone says he loves God but hates his brother, or sister, or neighbor, he is not truthful. One can only love God if that love is given to one’s neighbor. I’ll never forget how I could only respect myself once I gave respect to others. It’s amazing how Christian love can transform your life when you commit yourself to live it fully. We can then have the Gospel “fulfilled in our hearing” since Jesus dwells among us. We only recognize Him once we realize He is present in our neighbors, whom we are to treat like brothers and sisters.
Reflection: Take some time to examine your own relationships with other people. Are there certain conflicts in your life that you need to resolve? Are you ready to make peace with someone with whom you’ve had differences?
Reflection by Br. Matthew Marie, OSB