Feb 3 2019 Reflection
Sunday 3 February 2019
First Reading: JER 1:4-5, 17-19
I will sing of your salvation.
PS 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17
Second Reading: 1 COR 12:31—13:13
Gospel Reading: LK 4:21-30
Today’s Note: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'”
And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Many people—scholars and everyday believers alike—consider today’s first reading to be the greatest chapter in all of Scripture. Using just thirteen verses, Paul gave us a beautiful description of love that we could spend a lifetime praying about.
Simple and succinct, Paul puts love where it belongs: on the top of the list. Speaking in tongues like the apostles, prophesying like Isaiah, understanding the mysteries of faith like St. Thomas Aquinas, giving away everything we own like Mother Teresa—it means nothing if love is not involved.
Paul also acknowledges that none of us love perfectly. Using analogies, he calls our love childish. It’s as if we were looking at life through a dark, distorted mirror. Paul acknowledges, in other words, that we all make mistakes. We all use bad judgment. We all hurt other people—especially our loved ones. We try our best, but sometimes our best just isn’t good enough. Not yet, at least.
Like Paul, St. Peter also puts love at the top of the list. He sees love as being the most powerful force in the world. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Love understands all of this and can heal all of this—even the mistakes and poor judgments that are more a matter of bad choices than sins. If you have been hurt, remember that your love can bring healing, both to yourself and to the one who hurt you. Even if your love is partial or tinged with some regret or a bit of anger, it can still make a difference. Jesus always sees the love, and he always blesses it.
Love is not about being perfect. It’s about trying our best and asking forgiveness when we fall.
In prayer today, ask Jesus to fill you with the desire and the strength to love with the same love that he has for you. Try to be quick to love, quick to forgive, and quick to ask forgiveness. Remember, love always wins.
“Lord, teach me to love more deeply each day.”