Love? God: “Yes”

Brothers and sisters: As God is faithful, our word to you is not “yes” and “no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. II Corinthians 1:18-20

Ancient Roman fountain in Corinth
Ancient Roman fountain in Corinth
As you may remember, this year is the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of St. Paul the Apostle.

Since the end of the Christmas season, we have been reading at Sunday Mass from St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.

As we remember, Corinth was the capital of the Roman province in southern Greece, and it was a capital of pagan decadence. When he first preached in Corinth, St. Paul had great success. He won many enthusiastic converts, who became his beloved spiritual children. When he continued his travels, however, St. Paul received reports about the Corinthian church that troubled him. The Corinthians had begun to doubt his authority.

As you recall, St. Paul wrote First Corinthians while he was in Ephesus, across the Aegean Sea from Corinth. Then he had to leave Ephesus suddenly. The Ephesian silversmiths made a tidy profit producing pagan idols. They were not pleased with St. Paul’s success in converting their customers to Christianity. They started a riot. Cooler heads prevailed, but if they hadn’t, St. Paul and his companions likely would have been martyred then and there. After this close call, St. Paul’s friends persuaded him to leave town.

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The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio
Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.

From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.

For the world in its present form is passing away.

(I Corinthians 7:29-31)

This year we mark 2,000 years since the birth of St. Paul the Apostle. Today we commemorate the day when St. Paul went from persecuting Christians to being a Christian.

Perhaps you noticed last week that in our second readings at Holy Mass we have begun to read from St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. We will continue reading from these letters until Ash Wednesday.

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St. Paul will Guide Us through the Week

Gerald Henderson smoked us.
Gerald Henderson smoked us.
Please bear with me.

There are few things more painful to your preacher than watching Duke beat Georgetown. I would rather be beaten up by deranged Mormon missionaries.

For about ten minutes during the first half, it looked like Georgetown could actually win the game. Then things fell apart.

Monroe got in foul trouble, including a mysterious technical foul. Gerald Henderson scored three points every time he touched the ball. Summers played a great game but could not make his free throws. And poor Jessie Sapp was joined by Chris Wright on some planet in another solar system where no one ever scores any points.

Anyway, enough bellyaching. God is good, no matter what happens. Here is today’s homily…

penn-aveBrothers and sisters, we have an eventful week ahead of us. On Tuesday, our 44th President will be inaugurated. Before, that—tomorrow—we will observe the 80th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King lived and died to vindicate the human rights of the weak and oppressed. That is why we keep a national holiday in honor of his birth.

Our eventful week will continue on Thursday with the March for Life. We will march for the same cause that Dr. King fought for—the rights of the weakest and most defenseless people.

But there is more. Next Sunday, we will keep one of the main feasts of the Year of St. Paul. January 25 is the feast of the Apostle’s conversion to Christ.

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