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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God calls us to love but often we cannot recognize what love is until we recognize what it is not.  We witness a very ugly episode in the Gospel today of what love is not:  Jesus who is God was rejected and chased off by his own people who even tried to kill him.  Why?  They were fearful of him because he convicted them of their lack love.  When we don’t have love we easily fall victim to fear and anger.  We fear seeing the truth, we are embarrassed to admit we are wrong and need to change, pride hardens our heart because we easily prejudge certain people as unworthy.  Someone in the synagogue said of Jesus, “Isn’t this the Son of Joseph?”  In other words, we know this guy, he’s nobody special.  We don’t have to listen to him. 

We can do the same to Jesus when we hear something we don’t like, a particular truth or Church teaching.  We, too, like the Jews in the Gospel can in one moment speak highly of Jesus and then later be filled with fury and reject him, especially when we are part of the crowd who rejects him.  We see this mob mentality when it comes to Church teaching on the sacredness of life in the womb, of the evil of contraception, on the reality of marriage between one man and one woman, on the need to treat immigrants, even illegal immigrants, with respect and dignity.  Many people, even some who call themselves Christian, join the popular opinions and violently reject these truths.

It is symptomatic of a world that has lost the capacity to love.  Sure we love our pleasures, our food and fun.  We love our cable T.V. and high-speed internet.  We love our opinions, our independence and our “me time.”  But we don’t love God.  And if we don’t love God then we cannot love one another.  So we have to learn this way of love again and Jesus has come to teach it to us.  But first we must recognize how ugly our actions have become in our rejection of love.  We must admit our immaturity in order to accept the way of true/mature love, which looks very different from the way the world views love.  Our world has a childish form of love, a selfish attitude of thinking “what is best for me.”  God’s way of love does not seek its own interests. 

So St. Paul in his Letter to the Corinthians gives us a lesson on true Christian love:  It is patient, and kind, it is not quick tempered or broods over injury.  Love endures all things.  And the greatest sign of true love is that it never fails.  Why?  Because God is love and God never fails.  This is the love that we are called to live in and share with one another.  This is the love that will heal us of all anger and remove all fear. 

And so this is the Love that will save us, our families, and our whole world.  But it is up to you and to me to follow this most excellent way of love, and not our fears, our own opinions, or the popular mentality.  That is why Jesus came to our world to teach us to follow his way of love.  And the same Jesus that visited that Synagogue in Nazareth in the Gospel is here in our church to fulfill our longing for love but only after challenging our way of living:  Our way of thinking, acting, talking, giving, doing, seeing, and believing.  So let us not reject him and drive him out of our life, but accept him and follow him as the love of our life.  Amen. 

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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