Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2017
Reading 1ZEP 2:3; 3:12-13
Responsorial PsalmPS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Reading 21 COR 1:26-31
Homily— January 28 & 29, 2017
Just as Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments we have Jesus going up the mountain to share with the people the new law of the beatitudes. When I was reading about the beatitudes it stated that you can see the beatitudes in the form of a cross which I found surprising. But where do we see the poor, the suffering, people weeping, hungry for justice, full of mercy, meek, persecuted, spoke about falsely—just look at Jesus on the cross! He is all of these and more as He gives his life for us.
Fr. Robert Beck had an interesting way of looking at the Beatitudes in his column in The Witness. I am using it with a few adjustments of my own.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, who in their own ways have quietly kept faithful, who with the resources given them, work among friends and neighbors to help build a more livable world, who live for truth rather than for advantage. The kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they know the price of loving. They have cared for others beside themselves, nurturing the needful and not simply their resume. They have known loss, and they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, the gentle among us, those who lack leverage but are rich in life’s promise, rich in vision, who cannot coerce events in their direction, who live their lives in hope They are the ones who will inherit the land, apart from those who make it their project.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, who view the injustices around them and reject them, who do not find it sufficient to direct their complaints to the TV screen but must make moves to bring about change, who recognize, often enough, their own complicity, but who nonetheless believe in equal treatment and a just God and look for a day when justice will prevail. They will find satisfaction.
Blessed are the merciful, the kindly who act with compassion, who do not insist on attending only to the deserving, or only to the innocent, but rather, anyone who happens to be hurting, understanding that the only credential for deserving compassion is need, and so it is that their own needs will be known. They will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, who maintain a vision of what we are about, what we are made for, who long for the day that vision will be fulfilled, who keep that vision like a burning lamp, despite the angers and cruelties of the world. For they will see God and are seeing God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, who bring the jagged ends together to rebind the knot, who learn the lessons of remorse and division and commit themselves to repairing the damage they see strewn around them. The peacemakers, who do the work of God, standing against the promoters of division and conflict. They, doing God’s work, will be called God’s children.
I find it wonderful that we do not have to be rich or famous or powerful to carry out the beatitudes. Anyone can be poor in spirit, most people have lost someone they love and mourn their absence, we all can be meek and strive for justice. Everyone can be merciful and clean of heart and be a peacemaker. We probably do not want to be persecuted or insulted or falsely accused but if it does happen because we are living our faith we should rejoice for our reward in heaven will be great.