(1 John 4.11-18; mark 6:45-52)
All things considered, is not John’s Gospel about journeying in love? The beloved disciple continues his journeys with his Master, Jesus. Now, it is not the long distance walks from town to town. The writer of the fourth Gospel shows us how to join Jesus on his missionary tours in a different way. It is journeying through a meditation on love. It is a call to experience how divine and human love interact. John shows the example of a laborious active prayer. And there are so many transforming insights through these ‘inner missionary tours.
John’s toiling at understanding the Word and our own daily prayers aim at the same: joining the historical teaching tours of Jesus. Following him via the church’s prayer life, like the Morning and Evening Prayers, or the daily mass and the Lectio Divina is the way to the original excitement of Jesus’ teaching. John shows us the laborious way of becoming a contemporary of Jesus.
John’s letter continues the theme of ‘mirroring’ God’s Love. This time, his focus is how our love is enriched by his love. We can see the extra power our love acquires. Human love can be strengthened to the extent that ‘we can face the day of Judgement without fear.’ This is precisely the experience of the first disciples, when meeting and listening to Jesus. ‘Because even in this world we have become as he is.’
This transformation (Jesus becoming real for us, our becoming real for Jesus) reminds us of another journey with which our age is preoccupied. Our decadently rich culture’s obsession is space-travelling. We Christians - as disciples - know that the ultimate distance where we can travel to is overcoming our fears. ‘In love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love.’ In other words, God’s love toward ourselves (journeying) towards us to explore our truer self. In this journey, ‘love will come to its perfection in us’. Love will come to its perfection in us ‘when we can face the day of Judgement without fear.’ This kind of space (grace!)travelling is the most challenging of all expeditions. It can reward us with the most staggering, and at the same time most joyful discovery.: ‘No one has ever seen God: but as long as we love one another God will live in us.’ This is the fuel of our spaceship, our long distance heart.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..