For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God.
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.
The beginning of a new year is filled with hopes, resolutions and traditions to bless the days ahead. A year of the unexpected comes to a close. Days filled with joy, pain, loss and incivility now open each of us to a new unknown. 2017 is our personal canvas awaiting creation.
The letter from Saint John is the perfect start to these new beginnings in January. Love one another. Pass from death to life in the love of the one who laid down his life for us. Honor our own call as a disciple and spread in words and attitudes these gifts to all we meet.
We are offered tools to imbue our days with hope and prayer and spirit. In loving one another, we become alive in God’s love, and thus we are saved. May we commit ourselves to live in these resolutions for the year ahead.
—Mary Burke-Peterson is a parishioner at St. Nicholas Church, Evanston, an active volunteer in the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and a graduate student at Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University.
Pour forth into our hearts, good and gracious God,
the desire to be united with you in all we accomplish throughout 2017.
May your Holy Grace guide us, the example of Jesus strengthen us,
and the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit sustain us. Amen!
—a traditional New Year’s prayer