Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual da…
Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable. “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed,…
Pharisee vs. Sinful Woman In today’s gospel reading, the Pharisee is critical of the sinful woman washing Jesus’ feet with her hair. What a disgraceful act. Does Our Lord not know what kind of woman she is? Jesus knows precisely who she is! In fact, Jesus appreciates her great humility. The feet can be a smelly, and dirty part of the body, especially after walking around in the desert; yet, the sinful woman bathes them with her tears. The odor doesn’t bother her. She doesn’t mind the dirt. All she wants is to show how much she loves Jesus. A simple, loving touch from a sinner is all Our Lord needs to pour out his graces.
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer’s Spectrum of Spirituality
Thursday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that [Jesus] was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him…
“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.”
This passage of Corinthians probably ranks among the most well-known in Bible; it is certainly the most famous words Paul ever wrote. Christians and non-Christian can recognize these words since nearly every wedding ceremony includes them. As they hear it read, the groom and bride can look at one another, meditate over the meaning of love and apply it to their own relationship: their love is patient, kind, humble, trusting, hopeful, strong. Although context of the passage frames love in a theological sense, not necessarily a nuptial sense, the newly weds will insist on treating Paul’s love as a worthy description of the love they have for each other. While this may aptly serve the occasion of a wedding, understanding Paul’s words as some schmaltzy ode to love ultimately cheapens its meaning.
First, one must consider Paul’s audience. He writes this chapter on love in his letter to the Corinthians, a group of believers having problems working together because of their passions and jealousies. Far from exalting passions or the married life, Paul actually hopes to quell the passions and caution against married life (see 1 Corinthians Ch. 7). He reprimands the Corinthians for having cliques and division among themselves and for mishandling the Eucharist. Thus, when he speaks about love, he means love in the Church, between members, and love for God, which should unite all members. Marriage applies to this passage insofar as the couple intends to serve the Church together, raise their children in the faith, and have their relationship reflect Christ and His Church.
In order to make his logic of love apparent, Paul couples his discussion of love with his discussion of maturity. His mention of putting “aside childish things” sounds nice on its own, but it does not make as much sense when coupled with his discussion of love. Paul wants to make the point that children grow out of their ignorance, their silliness, and their overall helplessness; in other words, the “partial” life of a child passes away and the completeness of an adult sets in. In the same fashion, a person may know God partially as a child partially knows the world, yet he will eventually mature into a complete knowledge of God. Paul himself admits to knowing God only somewhat: “At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”
This still does not resolve the question of why Paul juxtaposes these two ideas, love and knowing God, until we realize that love helps us to know God because God is love. Love serves as the foundation of the other two theological virtues, faith and hope, because love “believes all things” (faith) and “hopes all things” (hope). This love finally enables one “to endure all things” like sin, hardship, and even death so that one can finally experience God “face to face.” At the point that we experience God in heaven, hope and faith become unnecessary: we see the God we trusted and believed in, and we finally join with the God we always hoped for.
Until we love as Paul explains so eloquently, we remain children, ignorant and self-indulgent. Love helps people mature out of their childish notions of God to a much richer and more resilient understanding of God. Jesus compares his generation to “children who sit in the marketplace” who complain that the world does not meet their expectations and, what is worse, does not even pay attention to them. They do not love the messiah or his prophet, but choose rather to contradict them out of pride. As a result, they never learn to love, but only to desire—which they mistakenly regard as “love.” Needless to say, this selfish love, that prevailed in the Roman empire as it does today, does not endure but fades into irrationality. Like a child, the man who loves falsely cannot recognize himself, let alone God and His Son.
Therefore, let us love as Paul tells us to love. It will not only make us strong and happy, but it will make us wise. In love, we may come to know ourselves, our neighbors, and the Holy Trinity. With such knowledge, our lives will finally be complete and Heaven will have arrived.
Memorial of Sts. Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs(Click here for readings)Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was bei…
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross(Click here for readings)Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the So…
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