Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A January 30th, 2011

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Dear Friends:

The Scripture readings of today’s liturgy are about ‘attitudes’. They are either stifling or liberating.

It is very clear that God can’t endure the ostentation of pride even in the great, and still less in the mediocre. Why? Fundamentally, because humility is truth, and pride is falsehood. God hates lies. The proud aren’t free to love. They are so busy measuring the worth of others with their false tape measures.

In contrast, the Christian attitude, found in the Gospel of today, in the Beatitudes is what God wants. If God, like the rich and proud, restricts friendship to those who measure up to what he has and is, who would be his friends?

But Jesus carries the matter much further by exalting the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, and those who hunger for holiness, to the heights of sanctity. How can that be the case, when the world thinks that it is the wealthy, who need nothing who are the lucky ones? The answer is that there is no mortal who needs nothing. We all have needs, and these people are blessed because they have blessed needs. They are free of materialism, free to live the Christian moral life, which is founded on selfless love.
One should not think that a good Christian life consists only in keeping the Ten Commandments. They are only the foundation on which we build a life of virtue. They mostly tell us what not to do and what not to be. The Beatitudes, on the other hand, tell us what to do and what to become. They suggest attitudes and actions which are the flowering of every virtue.

The Beatitudes teach us that, just when we think we have lost everything, we have gained blessedness. The man who is poor, and doesn’t mind, because he trusts in God’s care, is blessed. The person who grieves over the evil all around him is not burdened by his loss of worldly joy, but blessed by his share in Christ’s own sorrow. The people who hunger and thirst for God, have given up the things and the pleasures of this world. They are enriched through the companionship of God. The people who are merciful, look like soft-hearted fools to the proud, are blessed because they will have all the mercy they will ever need to assure their eternal salvation.

The Beatitudes make us rich in the sight of God. They open our minds and hearts to a new way of seeing and judging. They give us a whole new set of bearings. A person who lives according to the Beatitudes is already enjoying the blessings of the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the poor in spirit;
The kingdom of heaven is theirs