Focolare Word of Life – August, 2013

 
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk 6:32)

The word of life this month is taken from the Gospel of Luke. It is part of that rich collection of sayings that corresponds to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. In this section, as we know, Jesus describes the requirements for being part of the Kingdom of God and the characteristics of those who belong to it. These sayings inspire us and lead us to imitate our heavenly Father.

In this verse Jesus calls on his disciples to imitate God the Father in loving. If we want to be his children, we should love our neighbor in the same way that he loves.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

The first characteristic that distinguishes the love of God the Father is that it is freely given. It is in sharp contrast to the love of the world that is based on reciprocity and mutual attraction (loving only those who love them or those who please them).

The Father’s love, instead, is completely unconditional. His love is fully there for all people, whether or not they respond. The nature of this love is to take the initiative and share all that it possesses. Consequently this love is constructive and transforming.

Our heavenly Father loves us not because we are good or spiritually beautiful, and therefore deserving of God’s attention and benevolence. Rather, in loving us, he creates in us the goodness and the spiritual beauty of his grace, drawing us to become his friends and his children.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

Another characteristic of the Father’s love is its universality. God loves everyone without distinction. His love goes beyond all limits. His is a free and creative love that is abundantly bestowed wherever there is a need or an emptiness to be filled.

The Father loves even those who are ungrateful, or rebellious, or apparently far from his ways. In fact, his love seeks them out in a special way.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

How should we live this word of life? By acting as true children of our heavenly Father: imitating his love, above all in those characteristics we focused on, namely, that this love is freely given and it is universal.

Let us try, in every situation, to be the first to love, with a love that is generous, supportive, open to all and especially attentive to those around us who are most in need of it. Let us try to love with a love that does not look for results. Let us make an effort to be instruments of God’s generosity, helping others to experience the gifts that we have received from Him.

If we allow ourselves to be guided by these words of Jesus, we will have new eyes and a new heart for everyone we meet, and we will welcome every opportunity to love. Ultimately we will feel urged to share the love of God, that love that Jesus brought on earth, the only love capable of transforming the world wherever we may be.

Chiara Lubich


Each month a Scripture passage is offered as a guide and inspiration for daily living. This commentary, translated into 96 languages and dialects, reaches several million people worldwide through print, radio, television and the Internet. Ever since the Focolare’s beginnings, founder Chiara Lubich (1920–2008) wrote her commentaries each month. This one was originally published in February 1992.

This monthly leaflet is a supplement to Living City, the Focolare magazine (livingcitymagazine.com). Experiences of how people put the monthly sentence into practice can be read in Living City and in books published by New City Press (newcitypress.com).

For information and to subscribe to this leaflet or to the magazine, write to: Living City, 202 Comforter Blvd, Hyde Park, New York 12538; tel: 845-229-0496; e-mail: livingcity@livingcitymagazine.com. Visit focolare.org (international) or focolare.us (U.S.).

© 2013 by Living City of the Focolare Movement, Inc.

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Next month:

September 2013

“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 Jn 3:18)