Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Beatitudes live on!

4th Sunday in Ordinary time,
Cycle C,
Matt. 5: 1 - 12


The scripture gives reference to exulting the poor, "Happy are the poor in spirit ..." and from the prophecy of Zephaniah, "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth..." Which among the poor makes them special in God's eyes?

The poor in the Old Testament refers to the "anawim" - the widow, the stranger, and the orphan, those who were totally helpless as they cry to nobody else except God. In our world today, we include the elderly who remain unvisited in convalescent homes, the unborn who is threatened abortion by an unwelcome mother, and all the poor whom we have left behind as we strive to earn our our worlds and build our own kingdoms. What is special in all of them? The answer is evident - God.

It's not that there is a literal condemnation of the rich and the powerful and the exultation of the poor, because even some of the poor blame God or have left God. All of us, if we ever reach a point when we say we have no need for God because we are self-sufficient, because we have medical insurance and are wealthy, are looking for trouble. We cannot add another strand of hair nor another breathe of life if it is our time. In spite of all the things we have, we need the Lord, then we are poor.

Thus, to possess the spirit of the Beatitudes is to be oriented to the life of total dependence on the Lord - possessing the virtues of poverty of spirit, gentleness, seeking consolation when in mourning, purity of heart, justice, and being a peacemakers. We shall all possess the crown not of this world, but the crown of real life that comes from God!

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