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Sunday, January 31, 2010

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4th Sunday Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Luke 4:21-30

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surprised by love

"When I became a man I put childish ways aside." —1 Corinthians 13:11

Saul resembled the indignant Jews from Nazareth in today's Gospel. He surely wanted to throw Jesus over a cliff (see Lk 4:29). Such was Saul's zeal when he opposed Jesus and His followers. He harassed the Church, entered many Christian homes, "dragged men and women out, and threw them into jail" (Acts 8:3). Saul once testified: "I sent many of God's holy people to prison. When they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them...Indeed, so wild was my fury against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities" (Acts 26:10-11). Saul was one of those who would put a Christian to death and "claim to be serving God!" (Jn 16:2)

Saul couldn't accept Jesus in his native place (see Lk 4:24). So Jesus gave him a new nature and a new native place. Jesus appeared to Saul (Acts 9:3ff), gave him a new nature in baptism (Acts 9:18), and a new native place by granting him citizenship in heaven (Phil 3:20). Saul had a heart of stone, and was a man without love. Set free by the love of Jesus, "Saul (also known as Paul)" (Acts 13:9) became a "pillar of iron, a wall of brass" who spread the word of God to many nations (Jer 1:18).

How could such a zealous, furious man change into a person so loving and sensitive that he could write the beautiful, timeless words of love recorded in 1 Corinthians 13? Paul's fury melted as the Holy Spirit poured out the love of God into his heart (Rm 5:5).

Who is the hard, angry Saul in your life? Can you love this Saul into the arms of Jesus? "Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8).

Prayer:  Jesus, love many into Your kingdom through my life. May I see those with hardened hearts through Your eyes.

Promise:  "Before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." —Jer 1:5

Praise:  "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:3).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009

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