Scripture: Lectionary 247: Isaiah 49:8-15. Psalm 145:8-9.13-14.17-18. John
Love and faith are two of the principal themes in John’s Gospel. Even
though the first book, chapters 1-12, are primarily describing the theme of
faith in the Person of Jesus, the theme of love is also present. Later in
chapters 12-21 the theme of love is developed more fully. But here,
already in chapter five we see the theme of love coming before us in the
way Jesus and the Father love one another. This is so clearly stated that
it seems to the listeners who are opposed to Jesus feel he is blaspheming.
Yet, he must continue the work of the Father and bring it to completion.
Jesus is totally united with the Father through the Holy Spirit, the love
between them. Though this is a development in a theological reflection on
the Gospel, we name the Holy Spirit as the love between the Father and the
We read in chapter 3: “God so loved the world that he sent his only Son so
that everyone who believes in him may not perish.” (John 3:16). In our
reading we see that the theme of resurrection or eternal life is essential
to what this love of Jesus means. He has come to do the will of the Father
and love is in the will of the one who loves. The resurrected life is
possible because of the love of Jesus for the Father and for us. “The
Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the son gives life to
whomever he wishes.” (John 5:21).
We who believe in Jesus will have eternal life. (John 5:21). Again Jesus
is telling us that his love for the Father and the Father’s love for him is
what makes eternal life possible for us. We need to believe in Jesus’ words
and to trust that he loves us always and unconditionally. Both love and
faith are supernatural gifts that we have because of our Baptism in the
name of Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit.
The passage from Isaiah and our Psalm spell out in more concrete words the
same message of God’s love for us in Jesus. Who would doubt God when we
are asked, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the
child of her womb? Even shoud she forget, I will never forget you.” Isaiah
49:15). The Psalm expresses this love too, “The Lord is gracious and
merciful.” We remember Jesus telling us, “Amen, Amen, I say to you,
whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life
and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to
life.” (John 5:24). God’s merciful, tender, and kind love is the same love
that Jesus has for us, for he and the Father are one. Amen.