Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?” He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love 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 joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Love one another—this is at the very heart of our Christian existence. Love one another—it always sounds so easy when we are young and it gets more and more difficult as we get older.
But the second reading today insists on this: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.”
These words can bring us immense consolation in our daily. If we are serious Christians and seek to follow the Lord, the more we understand that we are serious sinners as well and that so much of our being rebels against the Lord in every way. We find ourselves not doing what we would choose to do and doing that which we have chosen not to do. Saint Paul found himself in this same kind of situation.
This second reading invites us to look at every aspect of our life through the perspective of God’s love for us. Instead of worrying about sin, perhaps this Sunday we should make an effort to look at God’s love for us. No matter how grave our sins, no matter how often repeated our sins, no matter countless failings: God loves us and invites us to follow Him. God forgives us and makes us new, both in baptism and in the sacrament of reconciliation.
“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” So much of our lives is spent doubting that God loves us—at least for many Christians.
Today, listening to this first letter of Saint John and to the Gospel passage, we can accept once again that we are loved. We need to spend time simply knowing that we are loved and forgiven.
Once we are permeated with that knowledge—to the very depths of our being—then we can begin to live towards others as God does towards us: love and forgiveness.