IF WE HAVE NO LOVE—WE HAVE NOTHING
St Paul gives us today his famous hymn to Christian love. It is greater than any charism, for charisms are vain if not rooted in love. Look at all the great things that love produces. Love will never pass away, for all the rest is vowed to disappear.
Luke compares those who reject Christ and God’s prophets to spoiled children. Jews, and later the pagans for whom Luke writes, see John the Baptist and Jesus and the things they say and do, but they do not recognize these signs.
God, your name is love.
You are the source of all love.
Let love become so characteristic
of the disciples of your Son
that it is part of our identity
and that it prompts people to say:
”See how they love one another.”
Make us recognize more
that it is a precious gift
that comes from your generosity.
We offer you our thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Responsorial Psalm 33:2-3, 4-5, 12 AND 22
R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness. R.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. R.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you. R.
Alleluia John 6:63C, 68C
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life,
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 7:31-35
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.”
Today’s reading from Corinthians is one of the New Testament’s most cherished chapters. Couples preparing for marriage often select it for their wedding ceremony. Speaking in the epistle of the various gifts and charisms present in the church, Paul saves his strongest praise for love.
If one enjoys the other gifts (eloquence, prophecy, faith, and self-sacrifice) but lacks love, it counts for nothing. What are love’s characteristics? Patience, kindness, transparency, consideration, and understanding. Other gifts will come to an end when they will no longer be of use. Certain gifts are needed now, here on earth, because of our imperfections. But as my knowledge in faith grows, I realize that I will know God more fully. Finally, faith will give way to vision; hope, to actuality; but love will never vanish. Therefore, it has a primacy among all the gifts and virtues.
Unfortunately, in earlier textbooks on theology, love was not given the primacy accorded it in the scriptures. This is not the case in most moral theology courses taught today. In treatises on chastity in the past, even the slightest infraction was treated with solemn gravity, while violations of charity were considered to be of secondary importance, if that. Fortunately in our time we have a different perspective.
Love is the virtue that explains the whole Christ event. Let us pray that we always see it with the eyes of Paul.
– That our anemic and dried-up love may become rich and spontaneous, like a fresh breath of life and joy brightening the lives of those around us and a wordless song of praise to God, we pray:
– That we may be reliable friends to those marked by suffering in any form; that we may let them feel God’s presence by the warmth of our presence, we pray:
– That people may not lose their heart in today’s economic system of profit, production and competition but seek human relationships of respect, love and friendship, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Our loving Father,
we bring this bread and wine before you
to share in the meal of your Son.
Dispose us also to share in his love,
which made him lay down his life for us
and let the Eucharist become for us
the source that keeps nourishing our love
in everyday life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have let Christ pour out his love in us.
Let it be a love that expresses itself
not so much in words as in deeds
of forgiveness and patience,
of compassion and generosity,
and of endless service.
Let that love never end.
This we ask you through Christ our Lord.
May love not be just something we are supposed to do, but something we live naturally and with great joy. May that love never end, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian – Pray for Us!