God is Love

What is love? This question seems to echo through the halls of human history as strongly as the question asked of Jesus by Pilate, “What is truth?” Of course, the answer to both questions is found not in a book, experiment, or set of theories, but rather in a person, namely the person of Jesus Christ.

Ok, that’s cute and all to tell to students in a youth group to help them feel loved, but what does it really mean? We hear in the First Reading today that we can only love because God first loved us. I often try to bring my readers back to the beginning, not because Genesis gives us a purely scientific description of the start of all things, but because it shows us deep theological truths about who we are and who God is.

When reading through the first few chapters of Genesis it is immediately striking that out of all the creation narratives that have been written, and there have been many, Genesis stands apart because it is finally talking about a God who creates out of nothing in an act of pure love. All of the other major creation narratives talk about gods at war or sexual promiscuity as the source of all things, but here God stands apart from all the other pagan beliefs. We hear it in the Gospel of John, “God is love”. John also draws the connection between this God who is love and the Creator in the beginning, they are one and the same. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

Ok, where am I going with all of this? Let’s think back to that First Reading. We cannot even begin to love unless God first loves us. The Catechism makes the bold claim that, “God is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.” From the very beginning God is love itself and we were made in the very image and likeness of that same God. We have love in our DNA so to speak, as deep as our bones, and deeper in fact because it resides in our soul.

I think we can often try to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and white knuckle religious rules and regulations. By that I mean, I think we often think we can do this religion thing on our own. We may have the false belief that we only need God for the really big things. But in today’s readings we are reminded that without God we can’t even love, because we would be rejecting love itself. Rather than living by this pelagian mindset, the heresy that we can do it by our own strength and don’t need God, let’s instead ask for the grace to live according to how we were created in the beginning. Adam and Eve may have lost the grace of God in the fall, but we can get it back through the God who is love who hangs on the cross for us.

During this new year, let’s try to make an effort throughout the day to notice when God is working with his grace. The great tragedy of our time, it seems, is that we can go weeks without ever contemplating how God is working in our lives. Let’s ask for grace to take hold so that we may be loved and in turn may go and love others. From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Jez Timms, https://unsplash.com/photos/bwtgal6MJLM