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ahearttreeI find the juxtaposition of today’s readings rather ironic given the wildly popular “lovefest” that we in the United States celebrate on this day. It is the day loved by card companies, florists and candy companies. Not too many people advert to the existence of the saint for whom it is named. (Even the Catholic Bishops Conference website ignores St. Valentine in favor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius today!)

So what is it in the readings that engenders my tiny rant? To begin we have the first installment of the flood story in Genesis (GN 6 & 7). God is regretting his creation of humanity because of their wickedness and says, “I will wipe out from earth the people whom I have created, and not only the people, but all the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them.” Luckily, the next line says, But Noah found favor with the Lord. Then in the gospel (MK 8: 14-21) we have an uncharacteristic scene of Jesus barraging the disciples with questions like: Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember…? They think he’s angry because they forgot to bring bread with them on the boat while he’s telling them to “watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod.”

What saves the day is the gospel acclamation that promises: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love them and we will come to them…” (JN 14:23) Now that sounds like the God that I know…Even when disappointed at our foolishness – or our downright obstinate behavior – God is just waiting for our response to the most consistent and sincere question God continues to ask each of us: Won’t you please be my Valentine?

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