Jan. 31, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Psalm 71:1-6, 15-17
2) 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 or 1 Corinthians 13:4-13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
A day after our family celebrated my husband Tommy’s birthday, he sat looking back through a collection of photos that we reprinted as a retrospective of his life to date. He enjoyed remembering again the highlights we tried to capture in just 30 pictures.
The birthday party was small — just our immediate family sharing brunch and the memories the photographs triggered: him as a child, our wedding, his school years, smiling with his Army buddies in Vietnam, good times with friends and posing with each of the children during special moments of their own lives. The most recent is of him hugging his grandson.
There also was a photo of the newspaper office where he began his career. It recalled his life’s work, mostly as an editorial writer, dedicated to advocating human rights and dignity, justice, common purpose for the common good and holding community leaders accountable. Noble work, but he suffered plenty of slings and arrows for his efforts in the public square.
Tommy would never call himself a prophet, but I’m sure he’s taken some comfort over the years from the message in this week’s Scripture where God tells the prophet Jeremiah that although he will suffer for speaking the truth, God will carry him through.
Looking at our family photos and listening to our children’s joyful recollections of life with their dad, I realized just how it was that God strengthened him to fulfill his fundamental vocation.
The key is in today’s second reading, in which Paul teaches the Corinthians that truth and goodness are manifested through love. Love bears, believes, hopes and endures all things, he says.
Tommy’s moral truths are based on his deep Catholic faith. He handed those ideals on to his children who witnessed the personal costs of his public stance. But they accepted his high standards because they also experienced him living those values in how he loved them and me and others — friends and strangers alike.
On his birthday, that’s what we celebrated in his life: the love. The newspaper clippings are in the family files, a record of Tommy’s fine writing and public commitment to make the world a better place.
But in his children, grandchildren and generations to come, it is the love that endures all things and that will never fail.
What characteristics of Paul’s definition of love are hardest for you to sustain? How does a commitment to selfless love enliven your vocation to share the word of God?