September 16, 2020
by Kimberly Grassmeyer
Creighton University's Graduate School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Lectionary: 445

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Psalm 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
Luke 7:31-35

Praying Ordinary Time

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Is there anyone among us who has not heard and voiced the beautiful 1st Corinthians reading for today?  Nearly every wedding I’ve ever witnessed has used some portion of this call to love: to love deeply, to love always; to fully embrace God’s promise that nothing we have, nothing we do, is greater than love.  It is inspirational.  Aspirational.  Absolutely beautiful.

And…. seemingly impossible!  What is it about the human condition that keeps us from expressing and experiencing love in the way that God intended?  How is it that this gift is so misunderstood, ill-used, and squandered?

Today’s deep unrest and extraordinary divisiveness (in the United States) elevates this age-old question for me, but also has me saddened and feeling powerless to affect the significant injustices of the world.  We are in such a difficult time, and I don’t know a single person who isn’t confused, frustrated, and wondering how we got to such an angry and polarized place.

In part, it seems the Gospel reading provides a hint.  In the reading, Jesus asked the crowd “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?” and then described them – US – like children.  My first thought was that children see our highly complex world, simply.  Then, that children see things through a lens of self-interest, and judge what they don’t understand from a very limited world view. I ultimately interpreted the Parable that Jesus shared as describing the generation – again, US in this case – as unfairly judgmental.  We are so quick to find fault with one another, to accuse and point fingers at ‘the other’, to refuse to listen with an open heart to find understanding.  I felt that Jesus, in saying that “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” was calling his people to avoid such quick, child-like judgement (to “put aside such childish things”), but rather to exercise the wisdom that results from reflection, understanding, perspective, time, patience, and yes, love. 

If that’s a reasonable interpretation, then, today I pray for wisdom – for me, for our leaders, for anyone suffering from injustice and hate, for all of God’s children – so that we can move closer to the state of God’s pure love.  Let us pray together, that if “faith, hope, and love remain, these three, the greatest of these is love.”  Amen.

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