In Love

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,”
but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we
are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him
ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment
to you but an old commandment that you
had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word
that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
(1 John 2:3-11)

Scripture Study

2:3 keep his commandments: The Father gives guidance to his children (3:1) for living and growing in maturity. Obedience to his commandments gives us the moral certitude that we are living as true sons and daughters. In essence, this amounts to imitating Christ (2:6), who showed us how to follow the Father’s commandments without exception or fault (Jn 15:10).

2:6 ought to walk just as he walked: Assumes readers are familiar with the life and ministry of Jesus, probably from the Gospel of John (CCC 2470)

2:7 no new commandment: John’s teaching is not a recent innovation unfamiliar to his readers. It is, rather, the commandment to love one another (2:10) that they received with the gospel and that ultimately goes back to Jesus (Jn 13:34). The point is that John’s catechesis is an authentic expression of apostolic doctrine (CCC 2822). The Torah commanded human love for ourselves and our neighbor (Lev 19:18). Jesus commands divine love for one another that is modeled on his own acts of charity and generosity (15:13; 1 Jn 3:16–18). This supernatural love comes not from us but from the Spirit (Rom 5:5; CCC 1822–29)

2:8 the true light: Refers to the gospel in general and to Jesus Christ in particular (Jn 1:9).

2:9 Whoever says … yet hates: A believer’s conduct must agree with his confession for his fellowship with God to be genuine. Faith without faithfulness is not a saving faith at all (Jas 2:14–17). Faith is exercised when we trust in God and entrust ourselves to God. Because it involves both the assent of the mind and the consent of the will, it can never be a purely intellectual decision that exists independently of one’s behavior (Jas 2:14–26). It is because faith and faithfulness are two sides of the same coin that the opposite of faith is not just unbelief, but disobedience (CCC 161).

Scripture Reflection

For St John, knowing God is not a merely intellectual exercise nor does he mean that the immensity of God can be grasped by man’s limited understanding. It refers to something much simpler and more important: knowing God means being united to him by faith and love—by grace.

Christian love is not limited to seeking the earthly happiness of others, but tries to lead all to faith and holiness: “What is perfection in love?” St Augustine asks. “Loving our enemies and loving them so that they may be converted into brothers. Our love should not be a material one. Wishing someone temporal well-being is good; but, even if he does not have that, his soul should be secured. It is uncertain whether this life is useful or useless to someone; whereas life in God is always useful. Therefore, love your enemies in such a way that they become your brothers; love them in such a way that you attract them to fellowship with yourself in the Church.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.


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