The reading from the first letter of John speaks of God’s love for us; as we are loved by God, so must we love one another. The love of God is brought to perfection through us because He is with us, in this world. Because of His love, there is no fear; perfect love drives out fear. As I was praying with this reading, a memory came to me from many years ago.
It had already been a long day at the hospital by the time we arrived at the Audiology and ENT department. “He’s afraid. He’s had several surgeries and is just six years old. Maybe if you let him hold the instrument, he’ll see that it won’t hurt,” I remember saying to the medical personnel while we spoke about the removal of an ear drainage tube that was lying in my son’s ear canal. My little boy had already gone screaming from the waiting area when his name was called. I’d calmed him down, reassuring him that taking the tube out of his ear wouldn’t hurt as I led him back to the examination room. He had undergone four major surgeries and several sets of ear tubes during his six years.
The intern was hesitant, but agreed to let my youngster hold the very expensive instrument. My son did calm down, took a big breath and started to move his hand toward his ear, thinking we were asking him to take the tiny tube out of his own ear. My heart broke as I was filled with pride, awe and love at his courage, trust and willingness. Fortunately, the nurse took the instrument from his hand. The tube was quickly and expertly removed, one hundred percent pain-free.
The above scene illustrates to me the faith, trust and love between a child and parent. The child believes in the love of the parent. The gospel reading today continues in this vein. Jesus has gone off to pray after the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The disciples mistake Jesus walking towards them on the water for a ghost and were terrified. Jesus tells them not to be afraid and take courage, but they were astounded. They didn’t understand the miracle of the loaves. They didn’t understand the perfect love of God the Father (or Jesus the Son).
The first reading today ends with, “God is love[…] 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” (1Jn 4:16-18).
As we age, we lose our childhood trust; we become jaded and fearful. We don’t see the perfect love that is all around us, just like the disciples in the boat from the gospel.
Listen to this song from Casting Crowns, to help you rely on God in this new year. He is always with us, to lift us, to guide, to console, and to love us unconditionally.
Beth is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here firstname.lastname@example.org.