Reflection for Sunday – January 30, 2022

Readings: Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 12: 31-13:13; Luke 4: 21-30 
Preacher: Patrick Fox

As we are in the early days of our walk through Ordinary Time I find it interesting that either of the two allowed readings today from 1 Corinthians present us with the words that the Corinthians heard, “Love is…”

I have often used this section of Corinthians as an examination of conscience.  If my God is love and if I am Baptized into the Divine Family as a beloved child, then ought I not use a barometer of my own love for an examination of my relationship with my deity and with my sisters and brothers who are walking along with me in our ordinary days?

Where are my opportunities to be patient and kind?  How can I avoid a call to pomposity? Am I able to deflate myself for the good of others? How have I been rude?

Where do I allow my self-interests to step aside for a greater good? How do I manage my temper?  Can I let go when I am wronged and not brood?

And as we reflect on those questions we encounter the line that tells us love never fails and yet we know that we do fail.

How do we resolve that?

I have been drawn to the fact that the Voice of the Divine in my life reminds me again and again that it is all about relationship. My human tendency is to become frustrated with my failures. I recognize that I too easily lose sight of the goals of living in love.

Then I enter into that idea that for my God it is all about relationship. I am called, invited, supported in love.

I find that I can resonate with being a child and seeing as a child.  A child who enters, for no explicable reason, into a trust that can seem inexplicable.

So how can we rise to the challenge of being an adult in relationship?  Over these last few years it has led me to a new thought.  Can I put on the mind of the divine?

I think that today’s Gospel offers a glimpse of that divine mind. Elijah is sent to a widow and Elisha to a leper, Naaman. Not exactly what might be expected.

So often in my life the mind offers a this-or-that response.  I have come to see that what I call the mind of the Divine offers a both/and response.

What happens if I leave behind the dualism of either/or and begin to embrace the both/and?

I find I am led back to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah. Before I formed you I knew you. The God of all creation wants relationship with very speck of creation.

We are not separated by a dualistic love, we are bound together.  We are that fortified city that Jeremiah offers as an image.

I am both child and adult. I am able to do good and to turn from the good.

But whatever I do the one constant is the Divine. Always there, always seeking to keep the relationship alive.  

So today let us sing your salvation as the Psalmist offers.

Let us recall that there remain these three—faith, hope and love—and that the greatest of these is love. Not an either/or love but the both/and love of the Divine who embraces us warts and blessing, able and stumbling, hopeful and stressed, but always in the relationship of beloved child with a love that never fails.

May our glimpses of the mind of the Divine be a source of energy that drives us to live our lives in love, that does not stop in dualistic thinking but rises to the mind of the Divine that embraces us, longs to remain in relationship, waits ready to restore what is broken, heal what is wounded and allows us as Jesus did in our Gospel today to pass through in the end.

May we all pass from either/or to both/and in a love.

Then today we can begin anew that relationship in love. A both/and relationship with the good and gracious God who calls us all beloved.

Patrick Fox
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