Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 1:17-25; Matthew 25:1-13)

Last year the movie Casablanca celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary.  Of course, that is not so great a milestone.  It was newsworthy because the movie never ceases to capture the imagination of the public.  What makes it so outstanding?  Some will say it was the acting of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart.  Others marvel at how the movie was filmed in its entirety in Hollywood.  But consider this as the reason for the movie’s popularity: it re-presents the sacrifice of which St. Paul writes in today’s first reading.

The movie portrays a man’s sacrifice of the woman he loves for her benefit and that of a foreign nation.  In the Letter to the Corinthians Paul tells of how he preaches Jesus Christ who sacrificed himself for the good of humanity.  The sacrifice, Paul says, would be considered folly by the Greeks, the worldly wise, who marvel at rational arguments.  Likewise, it would be considered inconsequential by Jews, the worldly prudent, who look for demonstrations of power.  But to those with an inkling of the true God, Christ’s sacrifice reveals the superabundance of divine love.

God’s love for us is more immense than an ocean and more intense than the sun.  We can never understand it fully, much less imitate it completely.  We only can give thanks for it and vow to follow the same Jesus Christ in all he said and did.