MEMORIAL OF SAINTS CORNELIUS, POPE, AND CYPRIAN, BISHOP, MARTYRS
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Psalm 33:2-5, 12, 22
Praise the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
In our passage from 1 Corinthians today, St. Paul’s iconic description of love, we read how we see now in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. This is to illustrate the limitations of the spiritual gifts and even our best intentioned human efforts, which are imperfect and must always be subject to love. If we lack love, nothing we do is enough.
It is ironic then to read our gospel from Luke, in which Jesus upbraids His generation, those who saw Him face to face, for failing to recognize Him or His messenger. Lacking love and wisdom, nothing God did for them would be enough. They saw what they wanted to see and believed what they wanted to believe.
On our world today, we run the risk of trying to do good and even great things without love, and falling short. We run the greater risk of seeing what we want to see and believing what we want to believe and refusing to let God get through to us. But if we have love, our works can be perfected by the One who loves us, and His love can change us to see with His eyes, understand with His wisdom, and love with His heart. Let’s pray for the grace today to receive more of the love of God and be that love in our world.