1 John 4:19-5:4
We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.
Psalm 72:1-2, 14-15, 17
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
Frederick Buechner defined vocation as where “your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” It should come as a relief that where God sends us, God also equips us. He gives us natural strengths and talents, things that interest us, things that make us happy, things that cause us to be outraged when we see a particular injustice. These are all the ways God shows us where he is calling us, what our vocations are.
Today’s scriptures show us in a special way how Jesus acted out his vocation. God’s greatest joy is in loving us. Therefore, as someone who loves us, he is the one called and anointed to bring the good news to the poor, to set the captives free, to restore the sight of the blind, and to release us from our oppressions. He does all of these things out of love, not out of duty. He does these things because he knows we need them. Therefore, every vocation begins with loving God and loving our neighbor, finding our neighbor’s need, and meeting it. And this is not a burdensome call. Once we turn love of God and love of neighbor into an obligation and a duty, it burdens us, and it causes our actions to become hollow, no longer offerings of affection. But when we love someone, we would do anything for them. This is the calling that brings us joy.
Where is God calling you? What are the ways you can put yourselves in others’ shoes and love them as God is calling you to love them? What is your greatest joy? How can God use that joy to meet the world’s need? Let us pray today for the grace to love others more deeply, to see the needs of our neighbors, and for God to show us how we can meet the needs of those he has put into our lives.