Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 7:31-35)

In a song meant for the whole world, the Beatles famously crooned, “All you need is love.” They presented it in the first live telecast via international satellite. Their message was heard by 400 million people in twenty-six countries. The words echo St. Paul’s lesson in today’s reading from I Corinthians.

Yes, love is all that is needed, but not any kind of love. Love normally begins as eros or acquisitive love meant to satisfy one’s desire. Such love attracts people to one another and spurs them to work hard. But its motive needs to be purified of selfishness if it is to merit salvation; that is, if it is “all you need.” Paul rightly does not exclude faith and hope from a triumvirate with love. Faith turns one to Christ for help when life poses its challenges, and hope keeps in view the ultimate goal of life -- union with God.

Our society glorifies love, usually equating it with an erotic variety. We Christians do not eschew romantic love but recognize its limitations. Rather than an exclusive love for one or a few people, we strive for a higher kind that moves us to care about everyone and takes us much farther on life’s course.