Homily, Feb. 1st, 2019. Mass at 8:30 AM.
Grandparent’s Day at Mayfield, Jr. School
Today’s first reading was taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13. It focuses on love and is a very popular reading for weddings.
I have a suggestion. Sometime go to your bible, look up 1stCorinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4 – 7. Read it as it is written, just as we heard today. Then read it a second time. And instead of the word “love,” put your name in the text. Let’s say your name is Mary. It would then read.
“Mary is patient and kind. Mary is not jealous or boastful. Mary is not arrogant or rude. Mary does not insist on her own way. Mary is not irritable or resentful. Mary does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Mary bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
When we put our name in the text like that, it gives us an ideal, a goal to strive for. It’s like an examination of conscience.
Love can be difficult to understand fully. It is like a diamond. It has many facets, many sides, many parts, many ways of being put into action. Yesterday morning I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge, and I noticed a big sign on the wall. It listed a number of good things for people to do, and many of them were about love. This list applies not only to teachers but to all of us. So I would like to share a few things on that list.
One of the items on the sign said,
Say “Please,” and“Thank you.”
You know what that is? That’s good manners. Good manners are a very basic way of showing love.
Another item said,
Speak kindly and gently.
That’s the opposite of bullying, isn’t it? Speaking kindly includes speaking words of praise. If a school team wins, say, “Hey, you guys did great. I’m proud of you.” If the team loses, “Hey, you guys really tied hard. I’m proud of you.”
Loving words include words of encouragement, words like, “Keep up the good work.” “You can do it.” “I believe in you.”
A third item on the list was,
We show love for another by speaking the truth. It is unloving to lie. When people always speak the truth, they trust one another. and trust is so important especially for family and friends.
A fourth item on the list was,
That’s one special way Jesus shows his love for us, by forgiving us. Then he asks us to imitate him, and forgive one another. How many times. Seventy-times seven times. Unlimited.
A fifth item on the list was,
Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.” That’s what school is all about. It’s about getting prepared, sharpening the ax. The more you work hard now at learning and developing your talents, the more effective you will be whenever life calls upon you to help others.
There was something that was missing on that list in the teachers’ lounge, so I will insert it here:
A famous theologian (Paul Tillich) once said, “The first duty of love is to listen.” There are a lot of lonely people in this world, misunderstood people, struggling people, who just need someone to listen to them.
In listening to another with all our attention, we help the other person know they are not alone with their problems. Listening is a very loving thing to do.
There was one thing on the list that needs expanding. The list said,
Believe in yourself
I would add, and God in you. Believe in yourself and God in you….
One day the famous boxer, Mohammad Ali, was addressing a group of college students. He wanted to encourage them to finish school. So he said this.
Stay in college. Get the knowledge,
Stay there till you’re through.
If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread,
They can sure make something out of you.
Yes, college can help make something out of you. But there is more that is possible. The prophet Isaiah said, “Oh, God, we are the clay. You are the potter. We are the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
Believe in yourself and God in you. Give yourself to God and watch great things happen to you and through you.
The list in the teachers’ lounge actually has 17 items. I will mention just one more. It included:
Say your prayers
To love means, “to wish another well.” And we express our well wishes when we pray for one another. We do that at each Mass with our “Petitions” or “Prayers of the faithful.” So let’s do that now. Let us express our love for everyone with our prayers.