4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
This weekend we continue our journey of faith as we hear the beatitudes. The first Beatitude strikes the keynote also for the seven Beatitudes that follow. The decisive word in this first Beatitude is the word, poor The first recipients of the Beatitudes are, in fact, the ‘poor in spirit’, an expression that indicates those who have their hearts and consciences directed intimately to Our Lord. They are the expression of the just who are tried by moments of suffering and difficulties. However, they are called ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’ because God’s merciful and compassionate gaze rests on them. These are the poor that the Bible text really refers to. The poor in the Bible are the humble people who bear a burden on their shoulders. They are given God’s favour and because of this the Word identifies them as just, meek and humble. All kinds of attitudes are included in the eight beatitudes. This way the true significance of the ones who don’t confide mainly in themselves but in God. The poor are those who detach themselves concretely and interiorly from the possession of people and things and above all of themselves.
The poor don’t find security in the gods of this world like success, power or pride but the true Lord God in Heaven. Those who are called “blessed” or “happy” in these beatitudes can hardly be described as fortunate or lucky people in the eyes of the world: the lowly, the mourners, those deprived of justice, those who are persecuted and abused. In structuring the beatitudes in the way he does, Matthew is not offering an unusual programme to happiness; rather, he is describing what happens to Christian discipleship when the kingdom breaks into this broken world. The beatitudes speak of a variety of experiences that disciples undergo as a result of their involvement in living the Gospel. The result of this involvement might appear to the world as senseless suffering, but Jesus heaps blessings on those who struggle to love the truth of the Gospel.
Discipleship is centred on Jesus. Because of who he is, others will change. Jesus alone is the source of discipleship. Without the person of Jesus, discipleship is meaningless. All of us have some experience of the cost of discipleship. Some will know what it is like to be counted as a nobody because of our fidelity to Jesus. As Christians we are pledged to share the wisdom of one who was counted a nobody himself. In doing that we will continue “to shame the wise” by declaring the foolishness of God, remember that gods foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. The beatitudes of this Sundays Gospel are all about the mercy of God which Pope Francis in our own time is all about, Do we have the attitude of mercy that is the attitude of the Beatitudes or are we happy to be as we are instead of being merciful in our dealings with other people?