“We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” (I John 4: 19-21)
The First Epistle, written by the Apostle John, is a Catholic epistle, which means that it was addressed to the wider Christian community. He writes this letter to address some of the challenges experienced by first-generation Christians (including recent converts to Christianity). Many Christians found it difficult to live a genuine Christian life in the backdrop of persecution, temptation, sin, evil, the rise of false teachings (heresies), and the decay of human relationships. An overarching theme of this letter is God’s love.
Do you remember the last time you disagreed with a family member or friend? Have you reconciled with God after having sinned, falling short of His glory, or put your relationship with God on “standby?” Have you confessed? As Christians, we are called to reconcile with one another and with God. Reconciliation will enable us to have a more in-depth, profound, and meaningful spiritual life since we will be able to experience God’s love in a dynamic, refreshing, and transformative way.
God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son for our eternal life. We are saved through Christ’s life and death. Christ’s cross reconciles us with God. It is through Him we have eternal life. Let us pursue excellence in our spiritual lives and live our lives holy, pleasing, and acceptable to Him.
We belong to the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar. As a church and many other churches in the Syrian tradition, we observe the Great Lent starting today. Some churches celebrate a 40-day fast beginning on Ash Wednesday. This fast we observe is for a period of 50 days. The second day of Lent (Monday) is set apart as Shubkono (Syriac: Reconciliation). The scriptures and the Holy Church remind us of the need to reconcile with others and with God. This is the ministry of reconciliation, as the Apostle Paul reminded us. (1 Corinthians 5:11-21). I encourage all of us to be reconciled with the Triune God, with others, and with all of God’s creation. We live in a broken world. Our time is limited. Take the time to reconcile in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I hope and pray all of us to have a blessed, transformative, and fruitful Lenten Season.
O Triune God, we have entered another Lenten season. O God, grant us Your grace and blessings. O Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us sinners. Reconcile us, O Christ, by your cross. O Holy Spirit, guide us through this season of fasting, praying, spiritual reflection, and transformation. Amen