"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). The world is loved by God! And, in spite of the refusals of which it is capable, it will continue to be loved to the very end. "The Father loves you" always and for ever: this is the unheard-of novelty, "the very simple yet profound proclamation owed to humanity by the Church" (cf. Christifideles Laici, 34). If the Son also had given us only this word, it would be enough. "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 Jn 3:1). We are not orphans, love is possible. Because—as you know—we are not capable of loving if we are not loved.
But how are we to proclaim this good news? Jesus points out the wall to follow: Listen to the Father in order to be "taught by God" (Jn 6:45) and keep the commandments (cf. Jn 14:23). This knowledge of the Father will then grow: "I made known to them your name, and I will make it known" (Jn 17:26); and this will be the work of the Holy Spirit, guiding into "all truth" (cf. Jn 16:13).
In our time, the Church and the world have need more than ever of "missionaries" capable of proclaiming by word and example this fundamental and consoling certainty. Being aware of this, young people of today and adults of the new millennium, let yourselves be "formed" in the school of Jesus. In the Church and in the various environments of your daily existence, become credible witnesses to the Father's love! Make it visible in your choices and attitudes, in your way of receiving people and placing yourselves at their service, in faithfully respecting God's will and his Commandments.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Mt 22: 37-40). Jesus does not say that the second commandment is identical with the first, but that it is "like it". So the two commandments are not interchangeable, as if we could automatically satisfy the commandment to love God by observing that to love our neighbor, or vice versa. Each has its own consistency, and they must both be observed. But Jesus puts them side by side to make it clear for everyone that they are closely connected. It is impossible to observe one without practicing the other. "Their inseparable unity is attested to by Christ in his words and by his very life: his mission culminates in the Cross of our Redemption, the sign of his indivisible love for the Father and for humanity" (Veritatis Splendor, 14).
To know whether we truly love God, we have to see whether we seriously love our neighbor. And if we want to test the quality of love for our neighbor, we have to ask ourselves whether we truly love God. Because "he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 Jn 4:20); and "by this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments" (1 Jn 5:2).