Thursday 10th January, 2019

Reference text: 1 John 4:19-5:4

1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

We often prioritise things on the basis of their importance. Do I pump my car tires first or complete my rounds? Which email do I respond to first? On basis of this text alone: ‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment’ (Mark 12:30), one can attempt to also ask the question: which is more important- love for God or love for neighbour?

In alternative vocabulary, who is deserving of more love from us: the creator or a creature? While we will crack out minds to give reasons for choosing one over the other, Jesus had an entirely different proposition. He refused to distinguish between the two on the basis of importance, he rather places them on the same pedestal and elevates them together above every other command. In his own words ‘the second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The words of Saint John today, therefore serves to remind us of what we should be looking out for. If we are unable to love ‘the person’ we can see, can we claim any love at all for the God whom we cannot see? Again Jesus says: Because you didn’t do it for the least of my brethren, you didn’t do it for me.’ Beloved, love for God may appear first on the list, but love for neighbour is not relegated to the background because of this.

Remember # we cannot claim a love for God but none for neighbour.


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