The test of Love. The litmus test for love of God is obedience to His commandments. This is not a new teaching, for even in the Old Testament we read that Yahweh already expected obedience to the commandments to be an expression of the chosen people’s love for Him. Jesus invites us to do the same. And there is a very good reason for this. As the original sin of Adam and Eve which caused our fall came through disobedience, Jesus saved us with the price of His own blood by being obedient: “he was obedience to the Father unto death, death on the Cross”. It was by means of perfect obedience to the Father that Jesus saved us from sin. Now Christ invites us to be obedient to His commandments as an expression of our love for Him. Many people see obedience as something that limits their freedom. For Christians obedience is a means of exercising our freedom most perfectly, by offering it to God who made us free. Our words and prayers will never mean much unless they are sealed with a true sign of discipleship, the test of love, our obedience to God’s commandments.
The price of love. Love of God is a tremendous gift, and it comes at a price. The price of love is willingness to suffer for the one we love. St. Peter reminds us in the second reading that suffering is an inevitable part of all human life. Every human being has to suffer at times, because we are all wounded by sin and suffer the effects of sin: suffering being one of those effects. St. Peter reminds us that it is better to suffer for doing good, than to suffer for doing evil. This is a very important lesson for those who wish to be true disciples of Jesus. To love God we must be willing to pay the price. And that price is willingness to be faithful to him even when suffering comes our way because of that.
Healing through love. As followers of Jesus we will come across evil in our lives. When this happens it is important to remember that evil cannot be overcome by evil. Just because someone is acting in a sinful way towards us, we must never feel justified to respond in the same way. Sin can only be overcome with love. St. Peter gives very practical advice about always responding in love, even to those who approach us with hatred: “act with gentleness and reverence”. He also adds that we must strive to live in a state of grace, so that we can be free to act in love. St. Peter says: “Keep your conscience clear”. A regular examination of conscience and a regular good confession can help us in this.
I love you all,
Fr. Wojtek Kuzma