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Amen, Sisters, Amen

First Reading: 1 John 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel: Mark 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

NAB

jan 6

If we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us.

I don’t know about you, sisters, but I am far from perfect when it comes to love. I get frustrated with my husband; I lose patience with my refusing-to-nap baby—and these are the people I love most in this world! Like I said: far from perfect. But perfection is a steep order! How can I be perfect in something so difficult and complicated as love? What does perfect love even look like?

John tells us in the First Reading today: God. God is love. God, who sent us His beloved Son (Emmanuel: God with us!). And His Son, Jesus—the King of Kings, Prince of Peace, and Savior of the world—came to us in the most quiet, unassuming, humble way. He was born to a teenage girl with a carpenter husband in a lowly manger. And this? This is perfect love.

How often do we fail to recognize Love in our midst? The disciples in today’s Gospel completely missed the boat (pun intended) when they saw Jesus walking on the water. Honestly, I think I might have reacted the same way. I wonder, too, how I would have reacted if I heard the news that, Hark! Christ is born! The newborn king! In a stable. To a virgin. Umm . . . excuse me? It’s shocking!

Sisters, will you join me in prayer? Let’s pray that our hearts would not be hardened to seeing God’s love for us, especially in the most unexpected of people and places. Let’s pray that fear would not rule our hearts or lives. Let’s pray that in choosing to love, we might be Christ on earth for one another. For when we choose love, we acknowledge Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He is truly with us. May we spend our lives striving to love perfectly, so that we might spend eternity with Love Himself.

Amen? Amen!

In this new year, how can we love more perfectly? Spend some time with God today. Ask Him to soften your heart and show you where He is calling you to grow in love.

photo by Sara Miller

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, new momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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