Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today the Church offers for us the words of St. John: “The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments.” These words are for us an ever-important lesson, always worthy of a new encounter. To know Jesus, we must imitate Him.
The secular world wants to know Jesus mostly to find out what all the fuss is about. Perhaps also to discourage and wound His followers today, who can be difficult or troublesome with their plans and desires. But the secular world uses secular means to find out who this Jesus is, or was, or wasn’t after all. Think about what a modern news reporter might say about the events at Bethlehem, Nazareth, or Golgotha? If we had a digital camera trained on Christ for some sort of “reality” show about the Messiah, what sort of footage would we watch?
Interesting questions, and not without some value for you and me. Unless we learn to live like Christ, we shall never know him, really. This knowledge that develops in a Christ-like soul is not necessarily book-learning –facts and figures, definitions or diagrams. It is, rather, a living truth that pierces the veil of the Godhead. It transfigures us and leads us to a joy that cannot be described or predicted.
Now there may be a tendency for us to think that we’ve “been there, done that”—that we know Jesus already—what’s next? But if we think this way, we’ve forgotten St. John’s rule: “The way we may be sure we know Jesus is to keep his commandments.” If we so examine ourselves, we’ll find that we have many flaws. It is, of course, the task of a lifetime—so let us, every day, make a little progress toward keeping the commandments of Christ more faithfully, so that we may be sure of our truthful knowledge of Jesus.
—Timothy Kieras, S.J.
Lord, it is fairly easy to be encouraging and celebratory of our family and friends who are not doing as well as us. But can we rejoice with others when their lives appear more abundant than ours? Maybe their jobs are more fulfilling than ours; maybe their children are more successful or more popular than our children. Maybe life just seems so easy for them but quite a bit challenging for us. Let us have the generosity of spirit to be happy for family and friends and to encourage them onward. And, Lord, protect us from comparing ourselves to others. For such practices will cause us to become vain or bitter.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!