“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:24-26)
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:16,19-21)
Due to its nature, love cannot exist in isolation. For love to exist, there must be a lover and the beloved. And because God is love, He is not alone or solitary even though He is one. God is a communion of Persons. Indeed, in today’s passage, Jesus tells us that this existence and exchange of love was originally between the Father and the Son before the creation of the world (John 17:24). In fact, some Christian thinkers explain the Christian understanding of God as One essence in 3 Persons using this “triad of love”: the Father as the lover, the Son as the beloved, and the Holy Spirit as the love that they share. And what is even more amazing is that in Christ, God invites us to participate in this love (John 17: 26). Only when we have experienced this love in Christ can we truly love others. Conversely, a lack of love for others is often a reflection that one has failed to experience this love of God (1 John 4:16).
As we begin our reflection on family life this Lent, think about your relationship with your biological and spiritual family (the church). Would you describe these relationships as loving? Spend some time to contemplate the love between God the Father and God the Son. How are you receiving and experiencing this love today? How can you pass on this love to your brothers and sisters?
Loving Lord, I hear your invitation to participate in this love that is shared between the Father and the Son. This Lent, I open my heart to your Holy Spirit. Help me to daily receive your love and learn to love others as you have loved me. Amen.