Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 30, 2022 Cycle C
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvin Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today’s Collect Prayer invites us to “Love everyone in truth of heart.” God, who is love, calls us to love in truth. Humanly speaking, this would be impossible except in Christ. To love in truth means to love all things in Christ. To love in truth means to acknowledge that everything belongs to Christ.
In the second reading, Saint Paul says that “love […] rejoices with the truth.” We cannot separate one from the other. In the Letter to the Ephesians, the apostle writes: “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ” (Eph 4:15).
A prophet is someone called by God to bear witness to the truth. In today’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself as a prophet: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place” (Lk 4:24). The Lord’s words to the prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading also apply to Jesus: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (Jer 1:5). Therefore, Jesus says to Pilate: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37).
In today’s second reading, Saint Paul proclaims that the greatest of all spiritual gifts is love. If we do not have love, we are nothing.
Saint Paul is speaking about Jesus when he describes love. Chapter 13 of the First Letter to the Corinthians is read almost everywhere at weddings. Sometimes I am not sure that people understand what Saint Paul is talking about. More than about the capacity to love, he is speaking about Christ himself. Only in Christ can we find true love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, It is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests […]. Love never fails” (1 Cor 13:4–5,8). Only in Jesus is love lived in a perfect way. We try to achieve perfect love but always fall short. Love is not just a feeling. Love is a person. Love is Christ: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). Truth is not an abstract concept. Truth is a person. Truth is Christ: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
People were amazed by Jesus but soon rejected him. Jesus was even rejected by his kinsmen. Jesus is a sign of contradiction. When the baby Jesus is presented in the temple, Simeon says to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted” (Lk 2:34). Truth contradicts our passions and sinfulness. Truth corrects the wrong way of loving.