The first four verses of the first reading are dangerous! They contain one word that can be easily misunderstood because it is so frequently used or misused. It is a word whose meaning, as used by the Evangelist St. John, if fully understood, could change my life radically. If I could grasp its fullness, my life would be very different -- so teach the theologians, philosophers, psychologists and spiritual directors. The word is a small word packed with great treasure. It is "love." Now, if you would, reread the four verses but change the word "love" to "self-giving." Listen to yourself as you read it aloud, if you can. Perhaps you have never thought of love this way.
What does it mean to answer the question "Do you love God?" with a response such as "Of course I do. Yes, I love God." What does it mean that I love God? Practically speaking, what does it mean for your day-to-day living. After trying this, try the same exercise with "Does God love me?" Do get beyond the trite and well-worn answer, "Yes, God loves me." I may think or say this without giving serious thought to such a quick response. Remember the parable about the seeds falling onto the different types of soil, in particular the soil that is hardened, compacted by so much walking on the soil. The seed has little chance of getting its rooting system working on such soil.
I should give thanks to the Evangelist for his words of understand the depths and breadth of the self-giving God. I should let my heart speak to my mind about how much I really understand about this word love as it relates to my God and my God's love relates to me.