“So faith, hope, love remain, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor.13:13)
The readings for today talk about the cost of being a prophet. Jeremiah, Paul and Jesus were called by God to proclaim the Word of God despite persecution and rejection by the people. Ultimately, they were sent to proclaim Good News: the love of God which unites us and impels us to care for the neediest in our community. They were sent to proclaim the saving mercy of God which invites us into a new kind of relationship with everyone we meet.
Today’s second reading from I Corinthians 12:31-13:13 talks about love. If I had a million dollars each time I heard this reading at the many weddings I celebrated, I could retire in luxury. Paul is not talking about marriage at all. He is talking about agape: sacrificial love. Love, according to Paul, is not a noun; it is a verb (actually 17 times in this reading). God’s love, revealed in Jesus, goes beyond normal human experience as the reading tells us: Love never fails. This kind of love is color blind, is tolerant and merciful. The two examples that Jesus refers to in the gospel show us how God makes no distinction among persons. The prophet Elijah helped a poor widow in Sidon; the prophet Elisha cured Naaman of leprosy. Both of these people lived outside the boundaries of Israel in what would be modern day Syria. During the extraordinary Year of Mercy we are called to welcome the stranger, those who have left the church for many reasons, the homeless, the addicts and those in need of healing. I would hope and pray that our family of four parishes would be known throughout the Archdiocese for speaking one language to all: the language of love.
Today we begin Catholic Schools Week 2016 which runs all week. The theme for this year is: “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” We have an excellent school in Catholic East Elementary under the fine direction of our principal Mr. Ryan Krienke with an excellent faculty. There is an Open House at both sites this weekend. Refer to the bulletin and the school website for more information about activities going on this week at www.catholiceast.org.
Looking ahead, don’t forget that Lent begins next week on February 10. Refer to the bulletin or parish website for the schedule of services. Don’t forget to order your paczki (jelly filled doughnuts) for Fat Tuesday.
Love to all,
Fr. Mike Michalski