Nobody loves a preacher. Especially in Australia. We are a practical nation who prefer those who actually do good to those who talk about it. That’s why this year’s Australia Day awards stirred up much controversy in the newspapers and online forums.
This week’s readings offer much practical advice for anyone who considers himself a preacher.
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.
To avoid hypocrisy, I am now going to shut up and go out and see if I can do something constructive. It will probably be something small, because I am a lazy person. And I have to avoid talking about anything positive I might do, because of the injunction not to be ‘boastful or conceited’. In fact I’ve already become a hypocrite, because I’ve showed off about my intention to do good. You just can’t win!
But if you’re after more, Bishop Robert Barron’s comments on the primacy of love are essential listening. And for a scripture study on the readings, I would recommend Dr. John Bergsma at The Sacred Page.
Word format: Year C 4th Sunday 2016
Pdf format: Year C 4th Sunday 2016