2 John 1:4-9

It has given me great joy to find that your children have been living the life of truth as we were commanded by the Father. I am writing now, dear lady, not to give you any new commandment, but the one which we were given at the beginning, and to plead: let us love one another.

To love is to live according to his commandments: this is the commandment which you have heard since the beginning, to live a life of love.

There are many deceivers about in the world, refusing to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. They are the Deceiver; they are the Antichrist. Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and not get the reward it deserves. If anybody does not keep within the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he cannot have God with him: only those who keep to what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.

Reflection from Fr. Erbin Fernandez

We are all tempted to pay attention to what is missing in our lives instead of appreciating God’s bounty. Jesus shows us that before we need to allow the sun of God’s loving rays to shine upon us so that we can reflect back some of this light to others.

How do we become receptive to God’s love for each one of us? Love is a plentiful offering. We can be attentive to everyday acts of love. All around us, people act in loving and generous ways. Perhaps my spouse or colleague is trying to lift my spirits up after a difficult day with lame jokes. Or when my mother or neighbor prepares a favourite dish as a gesture of generosity and love. Or when we are present to a friend who needs someone to simply listen to her struggles without butting in. In return, we are called to give away love without expectation of return. The more we give away ourselves, the more room there is for God to enter in.

The feast of St Martin of Tours today highlights this selfless-giving that St Martin displayed as a young soldier: “As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar in Amiens. The beggar was unclothed and it was very cold. Martin removed his cloak and with his sword, he cut it in half. He gave this half to the beggar and dressed himself in the remnant. That night, Martin had a vision in which Christ appeared to him. The vision spoke to him, “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.” A catechumen is one who is being instructed in the Christian faith. In the early centuries of Christianity, that was a long process of instruction – and Martin was deeply dedicated to it.”[1] We read that St Martin later converted many to Christianity, included his detractors, by way of attraction.

When we love others or allow others’ love to affect us, we are surrendering to a much bigger love. When people love one another, however imperfectly, God is right in the middle of it all.

How can I love my father, who has repeatedly hurt so many with his wanton attacks? How can I love my mother, who has not only abetted in this long-term abuse, but has become so disillusioned in the untruths that she propagates?

Where should the line be drawn between loving my siblings and correcting their materialistic and superstitious ways?

Many times, I feel like my faith is under attack from all sides. It would be easy for me to just ignore everything. But is that doing the right thing?

I understand Fr Erbin’s thoughts on loving on another – and I agree – it is far easier to find love in people whom I’m not close to, than in my own family. This is because we hold the people closest to us to a higher standard. It is extremely difficult for me to embrace this commandment. Fr Richards once said, we do not have to like one another, we just have to love one another. The reality which I have found myself in makes me realise that what sounds simple in theory isn’t as clearcut in reality.

Perhaps my whole perspective is wrong. I myself need serious help and spiritual direction.

This chaotic and toxic environment has undoubtedly affected my faith greatly.