There is something in us that likes complicated answers to big questions. When we are asking about the key to salvation, we think there ought to be some detailed, multifaceted program to get us there. We think the path to God, or enlightenment, or whatever word we want to give us should involve something big. Something complicated. Something fascinating.
But, today’s second Mass reading, from St. Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that is it all about love. Jesus already preached this – when asked what was the greatest commandment, he said: Love God and love one another. In his Hymn to Love, Paul gives beautiful commentary to Jesus’ command. Everything else, Paul tells us – prophecy, tongues, whatever – all passes away. I can speak in human and angelic tongues, comprehend all gifts and mysteries, have all faith, give everything away, I can do it all – but in the absence of love, none of it means anything. What is real, what is lasting, what is the key to perfect life with God is love. Love that is patient…love that is kind…love that does not seek its own interests, but rejoices with the truth. “Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
We look for complications. We are fascinated by elaborate plans. But it really is quite simple. Love. It’s all about love.