“Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us…” (1 Jn 4). We may think: If I love God and do what he wants, then he will love me. The love of God comes first; only then can we learn to love. It is precisely our need that calls on God’s love. “He pitied them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mk 6). God’s love doesn’t need any motive besides itself. If there were any motive coming from us it would have to be our need. This understanding has several advantages: it is more true to who God is and who we are; it is better for humility; it takes away anxiety. We don’t have to be good so that God will love us. We need only surrender to God’s love so that God will make us better than we are.
Jesus wants us to imitate his way of loving: “’You give them something to eat,’ Jesus replied” (Mk 6). The outreach doesn’t depend on how worthy those in need may be. It asks only: Are they in need?
You love me without considering my unworthiness, Lord. You call me to love looking only at others’ needs. Only you can teach me how to love.