19 Sept. Wednesday of Week Twenty Four
1 Cor 12:13ff. Hymn to charity, the supreme virtue, which will outlast faith and hope into eternity.
Luke 7:31ff. The self-centred cannot respond to others, whether to dance to a tune or mourn to a dirge.
A Lively, Nurturing Family
The key word today is family. We are “members of God’s household.” The family of the Church should not be monotonous or rigidly ruled, for its members are gifted in many ways. Paul mentions many of these talents: prophecy, full knowledge, comprehension of mysteries, confidence to move mountains, generosity in feeding the poor, willing to die heroically. But he knows that intense awareness of and pride in these talents can also cause problems in the church. He does not want any talent to be suppressed, but considers some of the gifted people “noisy gongs,” “clanging cymbals.” Such people, he suspects, can be rude, self-seeking or prone to anger, whereas all true gifts should be unifying, loving. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.
Whether for Jesus or for Paul, the leaders of God’s Church cannot be proud, egotistic individuals, but people who serve, with love. If there is strength in unity, these are the people who strengthen the church.
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Gospel: Luke 7:31-35
“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”