God is Love,

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God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in that one.   1 John 16.

Words and phrases highlighted in red are links to supporting materials.

This quote from the First Letter of St. John captures the absolute essence of Christianity, the essence of God and the complete trust and confidence we must have in God, because God is love. It is the only moment in Scripture which states this as fact and gives us the basis for our belief in God. Why? Because love is totally accepting of The Other. When we love someone, we accept them utterly, warts and all. We will stand by them in thick and thin – in fact, through all the promises we make when we marry The Other. No matter what, we are saying, I will be there for you. Why? Because, quite simply, I love you, and in some sublime, extraordinary way, we become one. When things go badly, we might well think that God has warts, that God is absent, leaving us alone when we need help the most, as Jesus may have thought approaching a horrendous death. That is when trust enters the relationship, that God is there, but is asking us do we truly love God? If so, then trust must take over. For whatever reason, in such a moment, God seems not to be present, not helping us.

As God’s children then, perhaps we are asked to stand on our own two feet on occasion, address the problem or crisis, and act as a child of God, doing what we know God would want us to do, and bearing in mind God is always there, even then. Isn’t that what parents must do to help their child grow and mature? Hence Jesus’ last words, into your hands I commend my spirit…. the ultimate expression of trust (Luke 23:46).  So when it seems we are radically alone, with no-one to turn to, that is the time when our faith in God should be the strongest, acting in the conviction that God is with us, even then. Martyr saints have literally lived and died in this fashion, almost always alone, defending their deepest beliefs against those who ridicule and mock them. Many have undergone hideous deaths designed to separate them from their beliefs, to no avail. Such is the strength of belief in Jesus and his church.

Despite the terrible failings of our church in these times and in the past, there remains the pure gold of the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, the example of those who rejected errors and stood for what was real and good, and the promise that Jesus made, to be with us always, despite all the evil that we might encounter. The rest is up to each of us, to cling to what is right, reject what is wrong, and live our lives as true disciples of the Lord to the best of our ability. In that way, with consciences as clear as possible, we may expect to be received into eternal love and happiness when called from this life. As Jesus, praying to his Father, says in today’s gospel,

I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.


Christ in Gethsemane, Hofman 1890, The Riverside Church, New York City, USA.

Reflections on next Sunday’s Mass Readings will be posted on Wednesday.

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  1. Thank you for writing to us every week.
    It is very inspiring, informative, and uplifting.


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