Love Rejoices in the Truth

Love Rejoices in the Truth Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Yr. C

The link between the Readings for this Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time could definitely be the phrase taken from St. Paul’s First Letter to the to the Corinthians, used as the title for this reflection.  “love rejoices in the truth”.  St. John the Evangelist tells us that “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.” (1Jn 4) We would believe that love is centered in the emotions – that it is basically a feeling.  And, for the most part this is how we would like to interpret St. Paul’s treatise on love. This is far from true.

If we take the verse from today quoted in the title and put in the word for love given to us by John then it reads –  God “rejoices in the truth”.  Jesus tells us that he is the Truth, in John 14:6. And, so now we have the phrase meaning God rejoices in Jesus!

In today’s Gospel, Luke 4:21-30, there was on the part of the people in the Synagogue in Nazareth little rejoicing in the truth that Jesus spoke.  We know that Jesus is God and therefore is love.  He spoke a very blunt truth to his relatives and the citizens of his home town.  This very forthright truth was love, an action taken, words spoken to pierce the closed hearts and minds.  If Jesus were to act like we might have in the same circumstance, the truth would have been watered down.  He would have protected himself from any conflict with his own people.  But often the love that “rejoices in the truth” also rejoices in the cross, the ultimate in love and truth.  His own relatives wanted to kill him for exposing their minds and hearts in love!  Jesus was, in our terminology, blacklisted by his town’s people and relatives!  We are told that “all in the Synagogue were filled with rage!” In speaking the truth boldly Jesus was not being ‘irritable’ or ‘resentful’, ‘boastful’,’arrogant’ or ‘rude’.  Although the town’s people may have been judging him to be that way!

Jeremiah knew the dangers of love rejoicing in the truth.  His whole life was lived in this danger.  We might get a warm and fuzzy feeling at the profound truth of the first lines of the First Reading – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”.  This excerpt from Jeremiah is his call from God, who loved him and whom Jeremiah loved.  Jeremiah is told by God who loved him that he better not shy away from the truth of the message that he was called to give to his people, – a message from God who loved them.  Jeremiah is told that the truth he is to proclaim would cause him much pain, and opposition and as would happen to Jesus centuries later, his ultimate death.  Jeremiah, like ourselves, tried to avoid speaking the truth of God’s love for his people, because this truth called them to examine their lives and change their ways.  This avoidance jeopardized his own love of God.  In our language God tells Jeremiah to get on with the call he has received to tell the truth, the whole truth of God’s love, and “put away his childish ways” as St. Paul puts it in the Second Reading.  Jeremiah returned to rejoicing in the Truth.

Love is hard in it’s kindness, in it’s “bearing all things, hoping all things, believing all things, enduring all things”.  And this “Love never ends!”

“Save me in your merciful love O Lord!  Let me never be put to shame, for I call on you!” (Communion Ant.)  The only way I can be put to shame before the Lord is if my loving does not “rejoice in the truth”!