God Loves All People
A Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2009
Based on the readings from; Acts 10:25-26, 34-35,44-48; 1 John 4:7-10, John 15:9-17
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD,
Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
Reformed Catholic Church International of New England
“The truth I have now come to realize’ he said ‘is that God does not have favorites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.” These words attributed to St. Peter and taken from the first reading for this Sunday should bring comfort and exaltation to all who read or hear them. When we couple them with these following words from the second reading and the Gospel, we have complete affirmation of God’s infinite love for every one of His children regardless of their race, nationality, creed or sexual orientation. “My dear people let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love.” In addition “My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another. No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another, God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.”
These words from the Gospel attributed to Jesus Christ strengthen the message even more; “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy is complete. This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.”…. “I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. What I command you is to love one another."
On December 25th 2005 Pope Benedict XVI issued his first encyclical as the new pope, entitled DEUS CARITAS EST which in Latin means God is Love.It matters not what Christian denomination you belong to or for that matter what religion, the main message we need to hold deep within us is GOD IS LOVE and His love is infinite.
The readings of this week are again a reminder to us of that main fact of the Christian faith. We need to keep this message always in our hearts especially when people are berating us or when we are made to suffer from discrimination or bigotry. Any person who does not love as Christ called us to do for one another is not a real or true Christian.God’s infinite and unlimited love is for every person on the face of the earth who calls to him seeking his mercy for their transgressions, seeking His relief from their pain and suffering or just giving Him the honor and praise He deserves or seeking to partake of the sacramental gifts.The only requirement that is made of us is that we keep His commandments and when Christ was asked what are the most important commandments he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31).
Throughout the years since Christ taught the apostles and the Christian faith evolved from the Jewish faith because of Christ who told us He came to clarify or establish a new COVENANT between God and His children. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:16-18). Christ was the sacrificial lamb of the new covenant and in His sacrifice he gained for us everlasting life and assured us of God’s love. Christ made it clear whom he came to save when He said; “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13) God extends us his endless mercy and love when we come to him with love in our hearts for Him and for our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ.That is the wonderful affirming and comforting message for this Week; God’s love is endless, infinite and unconditional to all who seek it. Let us look not on the sins of those who claim to be God’s representatives but let us seek God in ourselves and those around us by how well they exemplify LOVE in not only their words but more importantly in their deeds. AMEN