As we meditate on the readings for this fourth Sunday in ordinary time, we learn something about our human dimension. We learn what truly makes our humanity better. We also learn what can weaken our humanity and make it, therefore, less pleasing to others. What makes us better human beings according to St. Paul is love. And on the opposite side, what weakens our humanity is the lack of love. It is fair then to ask what love is.
Love does awaken in us a set of good feelings and thoughts; however, love is not reduced to the realm of emotions. It is a precious gift from God. John the Apostle reminds us that God loved us first. St. Paul teaches that love makes us patient, kind and humble. It increases in us the capacity of selfgiving and sacrifice for others. As every gift coming from God, we need to ask for it and be open to receive it. When love fills our human nature, it makes us more docile to listen to God's divine commandments and moves us to seek the truth.
In today's Gospel of John, there is an example of people lacking the gift of love. As Jesus spoke in the synagogue, and as many were amazed by his preaching, there were some who allowed their lack of love to bring them to speak negatively about Jesus. "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" Jesus' teachings did not touch their hearts. On the contrary, they spoke out of unkindness and selfishness.
Brothers and sisters, St. Paul invites us to be open to the experience of love, first and above all with God, to love Him with all our being, and to give the best of us to Him. Second, St. Paul invites us to be open to the experience of love with each other. The gift of love makes life more meaningful. May our words and actions be always motivated by the gift of love. God bless St. Patrick's Church.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.