January 29, 2017

4th Sun., Ordinary Time

January 29, 2017:  Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Scales' pin:  The Lord secures justice for the oppressed (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie:  The Lord gives food to the hungry (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord gives sight to the blind (psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord shall reign forever (psalm)
  • 'John's Jokers' tie:  God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise (2nd reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  Christ became for us God's wisdom (2nd reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Blessed are the clean of heart (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Blessed are the peacemakers (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

'Beatitunes' for today's gospel
For Psalm 146
For future Sundays
Pope Francis Angelus
The Gospel of Matthew is the keystone of the New Testament; it tells how Jesus manifested God’s will to show us the path to happiness.  The prophets had already highlighted God's liberating closeness to the poor and the oppressed, but Jesus pointed to a different path that exhorts us to trust in God as Christian happiness is found in the promise of salvation.  
The poor in spirit know how to be humble, obedient, and available to God's grace.  They use material goods with moderation.  The need for voracious consumption weighs us down.  "The more I have, the more I want" kills the soul; if you have this attitude, you'll never be happy.
Poverty of spirit is revealed in how you praise and acknowledge the Lord's creative love and how you trust God.  The poor in spirit don't trust in material riches, aren't obstinate about conveying their opinions, listen with respect, and defer to others' decisions.  The more who are poor in spirit, the fewer divisions, disagreements, and controversies!  Humility, like charity, is essential for living together in Christian communities.
Gospel poverty is the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, a path that favors sharing over possession.  You can walk the path of love only if you have an open heart and are docile to the Lord's will, as Mary was.
  • Zep 2:3; 3:12-13  Seek the Lord, you humble, who observe his law; seek justice and humility.  I'll leave as a remnant a lowly people, who shall take refuge in the Lord.  They'll do no wrong and speak no lies; they'll pasture their flocks, and no one will disturb them.
  • Ps 146:6-10  "Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!"  The Lord keeps faith, secures justice, gives food to the hungry. frees captives, gives sight to the blind, loves the just, protects strangers, and sustains the fatherless and the widow.  Your God shall reign forever!
  • 1 Cor 1:26-31  Consider your calling; not many of you were wise or power by human standards.  God chose the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the lowly and despised, who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so no one might boast before God.  Because of him you're in Christ, who became God's wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  Boast in the Lord!
  • Mt 5:1-12a  "Blessed the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, peacemakers, and those persecuted for justice's sake.  They'll be comforted, satisfied, and shown mercy.  They'll inherit the land, see God, and be called God's children.  Rejoice when they utter evil against you because of me; your reward will be great in heaven.
    • Creighton:  We seek the Lord by seeking justice, peace, and humility.  The way to seek the Lord is to seek justice and peace, but even Jesus didn't get justice and peace here on earth; he took the form of the lowly to shame the higher-ups, but they didn’t understand.  Many still don’t.  We have to seek justice and peace, even if we don’t get it. We need to do the right thing, even if we don’t get what’s right in return. We are blessed who show mercy, seek justice, and are humble and helpful.  Our blessings come from knowing we're acting appropriately.  Even if we suffer for our actions, our rewards will be great in heaven....
      Sermon on the mount/ Bloch
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Jesus:  the Beatitude":  The Beatitudes go together:  we won't be poor in spirit unless we've mourned for our sins, have the strength of meekness, and seek God's kingdom.  But if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we'll be persecuted.  Only those committed to the Lord and clean of heart will accept the privilege of being persecuted.  The clean of heart mourn for their sins and hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The Beatitudes are eight ways of looking at one thing.  The basic Beatitude is: "Blessed are the disciples of Jesus, who live to imitate him."  Happiness is found by living in and for Jesus. The Beatitudes are revealed by Jesus and are revelations of his character.  Only Jesus can save us and make us happy.  God has made Jesus our Wisdom, Justice, Sanctification, and Redemption."  Blessed are all living in Jesus, our Love, Hope, Joy, Lord, Savior, and God.
    • Passionist:  'Seek' can mean search for, be in quest of, or ask for.  Seeking God can mean we're lost, or seeking God’s will, or asking for a need; it's a lifelong journey of conversion that scripture, the Eucharist, and prayer guide us in.  The beatitudes tell us what to take along:  meekness, showing mercy, making peace, being hungry for justice, and more.  And the journey has its trials, insults, and persecutions.  If we're on the right path, it can be hard for us and those around us.  The 2nd reading explains the difference between God's wisdom and the world's.  It's important to reflect on situations, events, or what people say and discern how to respond....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven":  We long for true happiness, the complete good, the sum of all goods?  Jesus says we can live a very happy life.  We can be holy, pursuing God's will, by living the beatitudes.  The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness God has placed in every heart.  God calls us to his kingdom, the vision of God, to enter into his joy and rest.  The beatitudes confront us with decisive choices about the life we pursue and how we use the goods he puts at our disposal.  Jesus tells us only God can satisfy our deepest needs.  God offers us the greatest good:  life in Christ, joy and happiness with God.  The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world's understanding of happiness.  Poverty of spirit finds room and joy in possessing God.  Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God's word and Spirit.  Sorrow and mourning over sin leads to freedom from guilt and spiritual oppression.  God reveals to the humble the true source of life and happiness.  Jesus promises his disciples that heavenly joy will more than compensate for this world's hardships.  "No one can live without joy.  A person deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Thomas Aquinas).

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