31st January – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Not much happens in hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays as many of the regular staff LMA 088are off for the weekend. I spent the day connected to a I V drip machine for all the various drips I’m receiving: blood supplements, antibiotics, anti-sickness medicine, etc. My brother John and his wife Laura visited in the afternoon. They were home from NY for Bridie’s funeral (see blog of 29th Jan). Laura took this photo of us two as I was walking them out to the elevator. That’s the drip machine on the left hand side.

Today’s second reading at Mass was Paul’s treatise on love (1 Cor 13) which is often heard at funerals and weddings. It is always worth a fresh read and is particularly apt at morning time. St John of the Cross summed it up well when he said: At the end of our day we will be judged according to love.

Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.