“…AND HE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS GOD” (1 John 4:7)
📖1 John 4:7-16; Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 (R.v.2a); John 11:19-27
🎤”…AND HE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS GOD” (1 John 4:7)
Following the recent study, which helped to resolve the confusion over the identities of Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Lazarus and Mary the repented sinner, which now confirmed that Mary Magdalene is different from Mary of Bethany, the Church has approved the joint celebration of the three siblings of Bethany, who were friends of Jesus on this day. This celebration stresses the family spirit of that home in Bethany where Jesus loved to stay.
The evangelist John tells us that “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). He further says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ while he hates his brother, he is a liar. How can he love God whom he does not see, if he does not love his brother whom he can see?” (1 John 4:20).
In the theology of John, there is a correlation between faith and love. Everything in Johannine corpus, both the teachings and miracles, serve one important purpose; they invite us to faith in God. But since God is love, love becomes a test of this faith.
In the three siblings that we celebrate today, we see the import of faith, love and action in one enclosure. Martha provides us with the example of the correlation between the three. Her declaration of Jesus as “Christ” and the “Son of God” (John 11:27) is a perfect profession of faith. Peter earned a great commendation and promotion from Jesus when he made a similar declaration (cf. Matt 16:16). But Martha did not end at the declaration alone, he showed love to Jesus and his disciples by attending to their needs (cf. Luke 10:38-40; John 12:2).
Mary, on her path, was able to make a deep connection to Jesus and so discerned properly what it was he needed at the time he came to their home. With his impending suffering and death, Jesus needed a listening ear and companionship. Mary gave him both.
For Lazarus, we can immediately recall how he heard the voice of Jesus calling him out of the grave. He heard and acted on it. Remember that Jesus had just finished his teaching on the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd; the sheep hears the voice of the shepherd and follows him. Could it not be that Lazarus was giving us a practical on that?
Beloved in Christ, like these three siblings, let us learn to live out our faith through acts of love towards our neighbours especially those of them in need, irrespective of who they are and what they do. May we consciously make our homes places of love for Jesus to always come and dwell in as he did at Bethany, amen.
Have a faithful and lovely day ahead. Peace be with you.