Love Never Fails

(February 3, 2019)

Bottom line: Emotions come and go but as Jesus shows, love never fails. Amen.

Last week we heard Jesus' inaugural address. Quoting the prophet Isaiah he lays out his mission: that the Holy Spirit has anointed him to bring glad tidings to the poor, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed. You'd think the Nazarenes would rejoice that one of their own has such an exalted role. Instead they turn against Jesus, even want to kill him. The whole incident points to something we saw last week. The Gospels are not sweet stories - they report events as they happened.

The important thing is that criticism and rejection did not deter Jesus from his mission. You can sum up that mission in one word - the word St. Paul uses today: love. Jesus' love is not sentimental, not some kind of mushy feeling that heats and then cools down. No, love is patient. It doesn't seek its own interest or brood over injury. Love bears all things, believes, hopes and endures all things.

Now, love doesn't mean being a doormat. Jesus is no wimp. He faces down a crowd. Knowing the Father's purpose, he continues forward in spite of obstacles.

Regarding firmness of purpose, I think of Sister Barbara. God called her to St. Mary of the Valley in 1977. She continued faithfully in good times and bad. I was privileged to be with her the last nine years of her life. Only after her death did we realize how much she had done.

People kept asking: Father, can we get another Sister? I didn't think it would be possible, but as a result of much prayer God sent us Sister Carmen. Now, I am not saying Sister Carmen will replace Sister Barbara. No one can replace her, but Sister Carmen brings her own gifts. God is good. On Sister Barbara's memorial bench we inscribed one of her sayings, "God is good; he is so very good."

Sister Barbara reflected God's goodness and love. As we see in today's readings, love is not easy. Dostoevsky wrote, "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams." Love had a dreadful dimension for Jesus. So it will be for us.

So this Sunday we see Jesus embracing his mission in spite of opposition. He keeps on keeping on. People are beautiful but they also disappoint. You and I fall down - we need Jesus to pick us up. Emotions come and go but as Jesus shows, love never fails. Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Fourth Sunday, Year C):

2016: New Beginning: Living God's Plan
2013: Spiritual Combat
2010: Three Levels of Love
2007: We Are Doing It For Someone
2004: Love is a Decision
2001: Standing Against the Culture
1998: Catholic Schools Week

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
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