How do I love?

9.19.18 Wed. wk. 24 – O. T..- (II)
Paul’s first Letter to Corinthians 12: 31 – 13: 13
Luke  7:  25 – 31

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation?  What are they like?  They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.  We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  But wisdom is vindicated by all her children”.        The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily:  Fr. Mike Murphy                                  How Do I Love?

We all know the ‘Two Greatest Commandments’: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, all your mind…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matt.28:37)  Most of us would say that we are loving people, and that is a pretty fair assumption on my part.  We may not love perfectly, but on balance, we love God and neighbor pretty well.

Like †Jesus, St. Paul invites us to fall in love – to fall in love with God and with others.  We may love God and love others, but are we ‘in love” with God?  Have we fallen ‘in love’ with His creatures – with those who are created in His image and likeness?  Our enemies, the poor, the marginalized – have we fallen ‘in love’ with them?  The sick – the elderly – the infirmed – those who have political views opposite from ours – have we fallen ‘in love’ with them?  Do we love those who are different from us – by race – creed – or religion?

St. Paul in his beautiful hymn of love, as we heard in the first reading – teaches us that love is not only about loving those who are lovable – and who love us in return, but also those who might be difficult to love.  Paul gives us a beautiful image of love that is growing toward perfection.  All of our love is hopefully – growing toward perfection – a love that is striving for holiness.  But how does our love respond to an imperfect world?

Do I love those who never seem to overcome their faults and failings?  It seems I’m constantly needing to correct them.  They never seem to take my advice, though – and they just seem to drive me up the wall.

“Love is patient”. (1 Cor.13:4)

Do I love those who hurt me – those who always seem to say nasty things about me?  Do I love that person in my class who always seems to make a face at me – and those who whisper behind my back and who always says things to hurt my reputation.  

“Love is kind” (ibid)

Do I talk cruelly about others who seem to have everything – a better house – a better job – a better husband – a better wife; their clothes are much nicer than mine and they seem to wear them so well – they seem to have it all together.

“Love is not jealous” (ibid)

I am so much better off than that person – I work harder – I’m smarter – I am more pious – they should be like me – and my friends.  Those people who hold signs on street corners – why don’t they just get a job?

“Love is not pompous, it is not inflated” (ibid)

This person is taking forever in line.  Why don’t they just shut up, stop talking and hurry up and get through it?  That person in front of me is driving too slow over the bridge- don’t they know I have things to do?    I’ll just honk my horn and cut them off.

“Love is not rude” (1 Cor.13:5)

I will do whatever I want – regardless of what this person thinks – or that person thinks.  I’m too busy to call mom or dad today because I’ve just got other things I just have to do; even though they’d love to hear from me.

“Love does not seek its own interests” (ibid)

     You know – there is so much anger in this country.  People yell at each other rather than talking with each other.  Everyone has an opinion and wants to attack you if you disagree.  It just boils my blood.

“Love is not quick tempered” (ibid)

You see – if we used the hymn of St. Paul to examine our attitudes in daily life – I think we will discover that our love of God and love of neighbor still needs a little work.  Maybe we don’t love with our all – but with a lot less.  If we are going to change – then let us go before the Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ask for forgiveness – and use this beautiful hymn from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians as an examination of conscience – of how we love or how we fail to love.  And the Lord will always give us the grace to grow to a deeper love – a love that will never end.

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.