Jesus Christ preaches in the synagogue at Nazareth and people are amazed at His gracious words (Luke 4:21-30). Yet they insist on evaluating Jesus according to their own self-centered standards, rejecting Him to the point of trying to push him over a cliff – so He passed through the midst of them and went away. Our Lord, however, in His redeeming love for us, will not go away from those who believe in, hope in and follow Him – for He has promised that He will defend us and will deliver us ( Jeremiah 1:17- 19). Indeed, Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Saint Paul reminds us this Sunday that love is the greatest of all virtues (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13) – and love has come into the world, God who is love, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world! God loves us and has known us before He formed us in the womb ( Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 49:1; Luke 1:15; Galatians 1:15), and His love never fails.
Love, self-less self-giving love, is what God calls each of us to live. God is Love (1 John 4) and He calls us to live in Him, to be His disciples, to tell the truth with love, to live the virtues of faith, hope and love, to be instruments of His love in word and deed, instruments of charity (in Latin, caritas, from the Greek agape, meaning selfless love).
May we think about how we’re living the virtue of love each day. Do we perform the smallest acts of service with great love? Do we: try to be pleasant; offer a smile; say that we are sorry and ask for forgiveness when we hurt people; forgive others for their wrongdoings, pray for their conversion and charitably correct them; exemplify toward others the peace, joy and mercy of Jesus Christ; help others in need or are we indifferent to them; practice such works of mercy as visiting the poor and the sick, living Christian solidarity with those who suffer; care for the needs of the elderly in our family and community?
God requires our relationship with Him to be lived in our words and deeds ( James 2), in keeping with His two great Commandments: love of God and love of neighbor. As disciples of Christ, when we grow in charity, in the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all our virtues are enriched and strengthened. None of them is a true virtue unless it is permeated with charity, with love (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13). We have as much virtue as we have love.
With peace and prayers in Christ,