God’s Favorite


May 5  

Our parish priest likes to remind parents that they do, in fact, have a favorite child. There’s usually a collective pause of concern or anxiety amid the pews as we wait for his thought to be completed. Parents aren’t supposed to have a favorite child, after all.

Just as God loves all of his creation, parents love all of their kids. We have the capacity to love because God loved first. The second reading says: In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us (Jn 4:10). And that love is unconditional and available to everyone.

We remain in God’s unconditional love by keeping his commandments. Father goes on to assert that the favorite child is the one that does what you ask them to do when you ask them to do it. (There is usually a collective sigh of relief and a bit of stifled laughter as the parents realize he’s onto something). Love requires obedience. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love (Jn 15:10).

God’s love isn’t going anywhere. It is always there. It is our decisions that move us either closer or further away on the road to him. To remain in God’s unconditional love requires something of us. We must DO something. Love requires action. Many times, those actions will require sacrifice on our part, just as the Father required the sacrifice of his Son.

Real love isn’t a sentimental emotion. It is willing the good of another. It’s why we make our kids brush their teeth, eat vegetables, run around outside, find good friends, say their prayers, and go to Mass on Sunday even when they don’t want to—because these things are good for their bodies and souls.

Real love is why the Church has precepts and commandments. God’s commandments act as guardrails for us on the correct path, the one that leads us back to him. Following God’s laws is good for our bodies and souls. Even when it’s hard.

Especially when it’s hard.

Those sacrifices can help us grow in love and can bring us closer to God. And when we live out love, the love that requires obedience and action, the easier it becomes to love others, to be obedient, and to follow God’s word.

And that leads to the joy promised in the Gospel—the complete joy of being one with God. The joy that comes from being God’s favorite.

Know good, do good, be good.

Remain in God’s love.

Let’s go be God’s favorite.

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