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What Is Love? • Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

The readings for Sunday, February 3, are a real powerhouse! In one fell swoop, we are reminded that we are called, our call is love and that we will often be rejected. But, we aren’t called to feel successful—we are called to do what God asks of us.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

The prophet Jeremiah grew up believing that he was meant to be a priest. God called him in his youth to go to his enemies and share God’s Word with them. God knew it would be a tough job, but promised to stay with Jeremiah the whole time.

In the second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds us that anything we are called to must be done with love. If we have no love, our message cannot be heard, but sounds only like noise—because if we are not loving, we are not really sharing God’s message. He defines what love should look like when we are living it.

Then, in the Gospel, Jesus goes to his home town where, not only do they not want to hear what he has to say, but they actually try to assassinate him!  Like Jeremiah and Jesus, even when we respond to God’s call and do what God asks us with love—especially then—we will sometimes become the target of people who do not want to do what’s right.


Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

Psalm 71
I will sing of your salvation.

1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Luke 4:21-30
And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”

Scriptures for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Break Open the Word with Your Family


Jeremiah was called to be a prophet when he was young. Jeremiah was wrong about what he would do when he grew up—sometimes it takes us a while to figure it out, too. God has a plan for all of us. What do you think God’s plan for you is? (What do you think you’ll do when you grow up?)


There’s a story going around the Internet that a mother gave today’s second reading (1 Cor 12: 31- 13:13) to her daughter and told her to insert her boyfriend’s name wherever it says “love” to see if he measured up to what God says love should be. If you have a significant other, try it. Whether you do or not, put your own name in and see how you measure up. Share your findings with your family. (Maybe the whole family could do this exercise!)


So often it feels like we are talking to a brick wall—at work, with the kids, to our family—especially when we are speaking truths that others don’t want to hear. When you are faced with this, remember, Jesus didn’t fare any better! We are always called to speak God’s words, but aren’t always called to feel effective. Think of a time when this happened to you. Were you loving, gentle and kind? What happened? If it’s appropriate, share this experience with your kids.

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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