A Lopsided Relationship

May 5, 2024; John 15:9-17; Sixth Sunday of Easter

We all know that we are called to love God. Those of us who take our faith seriously try to demonstrate that love in the way that we live. We come to mass. We pray. We follow God’s commands. We serve those who are in need. All of this is good and appropriate. But sometimes because of the time and concern we focus on our actions, we can begin to believe that what we do is more important than it is. Today’s Second Reading from the First Letter of John provides a healthy corrective to this imbalance. The Letter says, “In this is love: not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and sent His Son as an expiation for our sins.”

What is primary in our relationship to God is not what we do but what God has done and continues to do in our lives. All that we are, all that we have comes from God’s love. God’s love created us, gave us talents and abilities, provided us with relationships and even guides what we dream for. God loved us first, before we were even capable of responding to that love. Even today, as we try to love God, it is God’s love that makes our love possible. This means that you and I stand in a lopsided relationship with God. God is first. We are second. We contribute our part to the relationship. But God’s part is primary.

Of course, God’s love for us should make us thankful. But it also can give us courage when we fail to live up to our responsibilities to God. When we hurt someone deeply, when we give in to selfishness or prejudice, when we let anger rule our lives, we can be tempted to think that God will reject us. When we fall short of our responsibilities as a parent, spouse, or friend, when we ignore those in need because we are too busy or too focused on our own needs, we might conclude that God will turn and walk away from us. But God does not love us because we are good. We are good because God loves us. And, therefore, even when our love is faulty, God’s love remains. If our relationship to God depended on our love, it would soon come to an end. But because it is founded on God’s endless love, it can continue despite our weakness and sin.

Now, of course, we should love and serve God with all of our strength. But we should never forget that God loves us first.

1 thought on “A Lopsided Relationship”

  1. I like your saying that God does not love us because we are good. We are good because God loves us.


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