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Friday, January 5, 2001

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St. John Neumann

1 John 3:11-21
Psalm 100
John 1:43-51

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love meets the greatest need

"I ask you, how can God's love survive in a man who has enough of this world's goods yet closes his heart to his brother when he sees him in need?" —1 John 3:17

John points out the obvious connection between love and need. If we love someone, we will want to provide that person's needs. Otherwise, our talk about love is mere lip service (Mt 15:8; Is 29:13) and not authentic (1 Jn 3:18).

The greatest need of the human person is to know Jesus deeply and personally (see Jn 17:3). Therefore, evangelization is "the highest service that the Christian can offer his brother" or sister (Orientale Lumen, Pope John Paul II, 14). Consequently, if we don't share Jesus with others, we either don't believe in Jesus or don't love people. Not to share Jesus is worse than refusing food to a starving person. If we don't share our faith in Jesus, it is questionable whether we love Jesus and have accepted His salvation. Pope Paul VI taught: "It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought...Can we gain salvation if through negligence or fear or shame — what St. Paul called 'blushing for the Gospel' — or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it?" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80)

This Christmas season and new year, let us invite others to come and see Jesus for themselves (Jn 1:46). Then we are loving them and giving them a Christ-centered Christmas rather than a Christ-less one. Then we are giving them Life.

Prayer:  Father, let me give the greatest Gift — Jesus: Lord, and God.

Promise:  "The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers." —1 Jn 3:16

Praise:  St. John Neumann was the first bishop in the U.S. to introduce the Forty Hours, and he worked tirelessly, having one-hundred churches and eighty schools built.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000