John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888.
Enjoy yourself as much as you like – if only you keep from sin.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
In today’s text, Paul is addressing the issues related to the gift of tongues. The word used for men is Anthropos which is gender inclusive. The subject of gifts of the Holy Spirit was a major issue in the new and young Corinthian church and it seems there was so much regard for the gift of tongues. Apparently, some Corinthian Christians count speaking in tongues as the most significant of gifts, and have become prideful about their ability to speak in tongues This is not a foreign thing to us as we are experiencing similar issues today but my focus here is not no the subject of the gifts of tongues but on the importance of the gift of love. The word ‘love’ in English is confusing as it brings with it multiple meanings but in the Greek language different types of love have different words. They are seven words for love in Greek but three are the most popular ones-eros, philos, and agape. Eros is romantic or sexual love. Eros is not used in the New Testament. Philos is brotherly love—friendship love—companionship love. Agape has to do with a concern for the well-being of the other person. It is as much a “doing” as a “feeling” word. It requires action. It requires us to demonstrate our love in some practical fashion. An agape person will do what is possible to feed the hungry—and to give drink to the thirsty—and to welcome the stranger—and to clothe the naked—and to visit the sick and the person in prison (Matthew 25:31-46). Those are the kinds of actions we will pursue if we truly love others with agape love. This is the gift that Paul is talking about in today’s text and it is my prayer that as Christians we pray for this gift. It is this gift that can transform the world to be a better world. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God now and forever. Amen.
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