[COLUMN] Love and friendship

It’s all about love! This is what we hear in today’s Scripture Readings, particularly in the Second Reading (1 John 4:7-10) and the Gospel (John 15: 9-17). “Love is of God,” and hence, “God is love.” As Jesus told us in last Sunday’s (April 28) Gospel and in this Sunday’s Gospel, we must “remain in his love.”

The love that God has for us, as Jesus taught, is like the love between true friends: mutual, genuine, honest, loyal, unconditional, patient, forgiving,  sacrificial, kind, joyous, and profound. It’s a kind of love that seeks time together, accepts the other for who he or she is, gives unwavering support, encourages the other to be their best self, is honest and trustworthy, and can always bring cheer or positivity. God, as our friend, has this kind of love for all of us.

Jesus desires this kind of friendship as we relate to him in prayer every day. He wants us to bring to him every day what is in our hearts. He wants us to be honest and true to him, not fearful or distant, not having the preconceived idea that God is  somebody who is out there “to get me.” No, our Christian faith is not about a God who is there “to get us,” but “to give us.”

Friends, this is probably what’s in the minds of our young people that we need to get rid of. Indeed, they need to know and feel that God is someone who wants to give them his unconditional love and always desires the best for them. As simple as this is today, it’s a challenge to inculcate it in the minds of our young people as they have perceived and felt a punishing God.

Let’s commit ourselves to promote this understanding about God. Let’s be friends of Jesus and remain this way forever. Amen.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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