Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it 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.
1 Cor 12:31—13:13 or 13:4-13
The second reading at Mass yesterday was the beautiful, well-known passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians about love. I am sure we have heard the passage many times. I remember memorizing the verses when I was in school. But over the years we can repeat these verses without really realizing what they are saying to us.
The saints have told us that when we die the one thing we will be judged on is how, during our lifetime, did we love – how did we love God, how did we love others, how did we love ourselves! For most of us we rarely think of death. But it is inevitable. We will be judged because, while God is merciful beyond imagining, He is also just. He is love and since we are made in His image we must grow in his likeness which is to be loving. St. Paul knew this and so he gave us this wonderful passage to help us take stock.
This passage provides a way to examine our conscience – have I been kind today? Have I been rude? Did I lose my temper? Am I brooding over some injury? How did I fail to love today? Or, on a positive note, how did I love today? How did I cooperate with God’s grace to be loving today? If we have failed, ask God’s forgiveness and the grace to try again. If we did well, thank God for His grace which we cannot take for granted.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all took St. Paul's words to heart. If everyone loved in this way, imagine what our own lives would be like - we would be overwhelmed by love!