"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" — 1 Cor 13:1 (NIV).
The Corinthians were completed with many spiritual gifts. One of them was the gift of tongues. Paul reminded them that even the gift of tongues was meaningless without love. A person may speak many languages, but without love, it is meaningless, like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. It is just an empty noise. Whatever does not proceed out of love is only a noise. The apostle Paul emphasized to the Corinthians that having spiritual gifts without having love was useless. Spiritual gifts can fulfill God's will only if they are controlled by the principle of love.
People can give without love. This makes me think of how some people give money to the poor just for showing off and not out of love. They only want to show. People can teach without love. Some people could have all the faith in the world that they could move somebody's heart or literally move mountains but it means nothing without love. People can sacrifice without love. They are not moved by love, but by pride and the need to be recognized.
When I read this letter of the Apostle Paul, I was surprised because so many good values would be in vain without love. Even if people have many talents, have a willingness to sacrifice, have a gift of prophecy, and so on, all of those things are in vain if they do it without love. So what is true love really like?
The perfect model of true love is like what Jesus did for us. He still loves even though he suffers a lot. It was love that made the Lord Jesus forget to rest for the sake of healing many people. It was love that made the Lord Jesus never stop teaching even though he was rejected many times. It was love that put Jesus on the cross and in the cold tomb. He loves not for His own benefit but for love itself. Let's imitate the Lord Jesus in love.
May God bless you always.
Reflection on 1 Cor 13:1-13 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD
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