4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13;Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Psalm 71:1-6, 15-17; Luke 4:21-30
“Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Addressing the fractious Corinthian church, Paul urged the believers to “strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). He even told them how to get there: by practicing love. Not the overly romantic love that musicians sing about but divine love—the love Jesus poured out when he died on the cross. Paul wants us to learn how to operate out of God’s infinite love, not just our own limited version of it.
The sad truth, however, is that we are all fallible. We all fail to meet the standard of love presented in this reading. So how can we love in the way God is asking us to? By receiving it as a gift. Prophecy, tongues, miracles—all these spectacular gifts of the Spirit will fade. But not love. It is limitless. It never fails.
Just as Jesus taught his apostles the way of love, he wants to teach us as well. But we have to come to him if we want to be taught. As we take up a life of prayer, Scripture, and the sacraments, something happens. Often enough, it is a gradual process, and we may not even notice what is happening. But something prompts us to look back over our lives, and we begin to see the ways that God’s grace has made us more kind and generous. We can see how he has made us more alert to other people’s situations and needs.
All this happens because we are becoming like Jesus. We are receiving him in the Eucharist and soaking up his wisdom in the Scriptures. And the Holy Spirit is responding by shaping our hearts and minds according to Jesus’ own image and likeness.
So let God fill you with his perfect love at Mass today. There will be plenty of time for action in the week to come. For now, just sit still and receive. This, after all, is the greatest of all the gifts!
“Lord, I surrender my relation-ships to you. Come and fill me to overflowing so that your love can flow from me to everyone in my life.”~WAU