HOMILY THEME: Love is Greatest of all Gifts.

BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu



_“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” *(1 Corinthians 13:1)*_

Amongst the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, one which we often take for granted is the gift of Love. People tend to look at those who speak in tongues as very holy people, a lot of respect is given to those who have the gift of preaching and those who have the gift of healing are seen as demi-gods. But as St. Paul makes us understand in today’s first reading, the greatest gift ever is Love.

This takes us back to our second reading on Sunday wherein St. James says: “show me your faith apart from works and I by my works will show you my faith.” The work that shows faith is love and love in concrete terms is charity; the help we give to those in need, the less privileged, those who have no one to help them etc. In truth, people who render help to the poor deserve more respect and honour than those who preach, those who work miracles, prayer warriors and even those skilled in church administration. There is no gift greater than love.

As St. Paul teaches, let us strive for, desire and long only for the higher gift which is love; that is to say, we should pray for the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others and help them. Even the devil himself can quote the bible and preach sermons, he can pretend to be working miracles but it takes only a truly holy person to love.

The word “love” is the most common word in our vocabulary yet the meanings attached to it vary. St. Paul did not stop at merely asking us to love, he clarifies what he is referring to when he says love is patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not irritable, not resentful, does not rejoice at wrong, bears all things, believes, hopes and endures all things and above all, this type of love never ends. Definitely, this is not the popular love we hear about in our movies, music and everywhere; it is not the erotic love which burns like a fire, explodes like a bomb and vanishes into thin air before we know it. This love never ends.

In our Gospel passage, we are reminded of the fact that we can never please human beings. No matter how hard we try, no matter how good we may be, there will always be some loophole or error in what we do. And whether we like it or not, there will always be people to criticize us or just hate us without reason. Jesus himself asks a fundamental question in today’s Gospel passage: “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? … 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, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:31-34.

Are you worried about what people are saying about you behind your back? Do you feel affected by the names people call you? Are you constantly trying to read people’s minds, constantly trying to make them like you, constantly trying to control the thoughts of other people, constantly wondering what they might be thinking about you? Enough is enough!

One thing is sure. If only we try to please God with as much vigour and energy we expend in trying to please people, our lives would be much better.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love better and to strive only to please you. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1st Corinthians 12:31-13:13, Psalm 33:2-22, and Luke 7:31-35)

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