Readings from the New Testament
Jesus speaks of the importance of staying grounded in God’s Word.
“The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’ ”
Jesus teaches about God’s ruling activity and God’s will. He offers a vision of God’s kingdom that is marked by justice.
Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered round him, and he began to teach them:
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!
“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
“Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!
“Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
“Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!”
“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”
“So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. The apostle Paul wrote:
We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.
For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below — there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Love binds everything together. The apostle Paul wrote:
I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains — but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned — but if I have no love, this does me no good.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.
Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.
When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete — as complete as God’s knowledge of me.
Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13