Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lk 6:27-38
February 20, 2021

I was walking quickly past a “high end” coffee shop. I say “quickly” because the aroma wafting out of the cafe was strong and very inviting. Since I already had my three cups for the day, I was moving fast and trying not to give in to the temptation. Still, I happened to look over at the stylish printing on the window that read: Like coffee…Love people!

Those four little words spoke to me to the point that I forgot how much I would have LOVED to step in for a fourth cup. Maybe the message drew special power from the fact that Valentine’s Day (meant to be celebrated as a saint’s feast day) was fast approaching and “love” was in the air as thick as the smell of strong coffee. At any rate, Like coffee…Love people! got me thinking about how seriously devalued the word “love” has become.

Consider that for which we frequently profess our love. I love my mother’s meatloaf. I love my job. love my new car. I love this weather we’re having. (Poor example here in Michigan)

Still, we hear and say it all the time. We profess our love for the silliest and inconsequential of things, without really thinking about what we are saying.

Seriously? Would you risk your life for a slice of meatloaf? Do you love your job so much that you would work for free?

The point is, we overuse the word. As a consequence, we risk undervaluing not only the word but also the emotion…even losing touch with the deepest meaning and power of LOVE. And before we brush that point away by saying, It’s just an expression…no big deal, it might be worth remembering that:

GOD WILLS THAT WE REFLECT LOVE…with all our mind, heart, and soul…to God, to others…and in the mirror.

But careless or thoughtless use of the word is not the only thing that threatens our ability to be better images of our ALL-LOVING GOD. There are other emotions, dark feelings, desires, and inclinations that are floating around us in this world, constantly tempting us and drawing us in. “Earthly” feelings, alluded to by St. Paul in our Second Reading, threaten to overpower the purity of love.

Hatred, anger, revenge, selfishness, and greed…or a special blend of all this darkness, fills the very air we breathe. These “earthly inclinations” create an irresistible aroma that hits us with a powerful punch as strong as the smell of fresh perked coffee at daybreak. Even worse, once we get a taste of them, we are hooked. This special blend of darkness is highly addictive.

The Good News is that our Creator, The Origin and Source of LOVE, sent Jesus Christ, “the new and final Adam,” into this world to overpower all of these seductive “earthly aromas.” The Holy Spirit purifies the air so that we are able to inhale “heavenly aromas.” And if we walk quickly away from the darkness and toward The Light, what we breathe in is the “life-giving Spirit” that St. Paul speaks about. That Spirit IS LOVE! And the more we inhale love, the more we are transformed into what God created us to be.

What’s the takeaway from all of this?

Maybe it’s as simple as those four little words on that cafe window: Like coffee…Love people! And of course…Love God AND love yourself!

So, when the alarm clock rings on Monday morning. it’s OK to wake up and smell the coffee…but…before your feet hit the floor, take a good, long, deep breath of the “life-giving” Holy Spirit of Love!