Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, September 11
May We Find That Perfect Joy and Everlasting Peace and Happiness Which Awaits Each of Us, by Actively Fulfilling God’s Will in Our Life of Faith Here and Now on This Side of Heaven.
“Blessed are you” and “woe to you” – opposing themes, blessings and woes, which addressed the real economic and social conditions of humanity during the days when Jesus walked amongst us.
And yet, when we look at the world in which we live today, things have not really changed all that much. Just as it was some two thousand years ago, we still have divisions within our society – the poor versus the rich, the hungry versus those who are satisfied, those who grieve with sorrowing hearts contrasting with those who laugh with disdain, the outcast as opposed to the socially acceptable.
Our Lord was painting a picture for His disciples, a picture which depicted contrasts in human nature, disparities in human behavior which either was pleasing or displeasing to the God who created man in His own image. For God would look into the hearts of His creation and would know those who were acting godly as opposed to those who were godless, those who were filled with acts of selfless giving versus those who were selfish and only concerned about self.
By the way one lived his or her life, by the way one treated his or her fellow man, they would either be blessed or would receive God’s displeasure. For it was then, is now and always will be God’s will that we recognize and care for the needs of our brothers and sisters, His children, especially those who are suffering and most vulnerable.
For those of us who are old enough to remember, Ronald Reagan, who was the fortieth President of the United States, was a man who was involved in many different facets of life.
Whether one agreed or disagreed with his personal politics, one of the things which stood out during his tenure as our nation’s President, undoubtedly due to his many and varied life’s experiences, was his ability to communicate. As a matter of fact, he was labeled as the “great communicator”, due to his ability to connect with the American people.
He was once quoted as saying, “I won the nickname the ‘great communicator.’ But I never thought it was my style that made a difference – it was the content.”
And this is exactly what we find in today’s Gospel, a style which was very simple and straight forward – very easy to understand. And yet, it stands out as one of the great discourses of our Lord, due to the very nature of its content!
For it is the Beatitudes which are at the very core of Jesus’ preaching! Through Jesus’ discourse, they present us with the final gift for which each one of us longs, the Kingdom of Heaven itself. For it is the Beatitudes which raise our hope towards Heaven as the new Promised Land, the New Jerusalem!
And Christ is no stranger to the many difficulties which we oftentimes face in this life. He Himself chose to share in our sufferings, for, out of His Love for you and me, He emptied Himself, setting aside the awesome Nature of His own Divinity, so as to take upon Himself our human nature in every aspect except sin.
And in Paul’s own unique understanding of this vale of tears in which we all live, he tells us, in our First Reading for today, “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above…not of what is on earth.”
Paul is teaching his readers to avoid that which can harm our relationship with God – “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient” – the woes about which our Lord is explaining to His disciples in today’s Gospel, woes which separate us from His will for us in our lives.
However, the Beatitudes which we read about today – “Blessed are you who are poor…Blessed are you who are now hungry…Blessed are you who are now weeping…Blessed are you when people hate you…and insult you…” – they are markers, if you will, guideposts to human behavior which earn for ourselves God’s pleasure. They are like spiritual markers which can become our roadmap to Heaven – our map which shows us the way to eternal life.
Back in 2009, when I was ministering to the homeless in a nearby city, I was confronted one day by an individual who was deeply troubled inside his own heart. Just by looking into his eyes, I could see the suffering Christ. And filled with tears, he was explaining to me that no one could truly understand what any one of them – the homeless, the abandoned, those who feel all alone and unloved – endures on a daily basis, unless someone actually “walks a mile in their shoes”.
I knew that Jesus understood, because for three years He was a wandering, itinerant preacher, who walked countless miles throughout the towns of Galilee and Judea, who once said of Himself, “…Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
By virtue of our Baptism, we have been born into discipleship of Jesus Christ, so when the Scripture says today, “Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said” – He is also speaking to each and every one of us, both you and me.
We are each called to live our discipleship by showing love towards all those who are less fortunate that we. We are each called to live our discipleship by truly opening our hearts and becoming the extension of Christ’s own Merciful Heart in how we interact with each of our brothers and sisters, no matter whether they are poor, hungry, grieving or social outcasts by a culture which often turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to their needs.
By the faith we profess and the life we live, both you and I are called to emulate the words of today’s psalmist, “The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.”
With the help of God’s grace, may we find that perfect joy and everlasting peace and happiness which awaits each of us, by actively fulfilling His will for us in our life of faith here and now on this side of Heaven.
So that Paul’s words in our First Reading may truly be realized in each and every one of us – “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above…not of what is on earth…” (Colossians 3:1a, 2b)
- “Blessed are you who are poor…Blessed are you who are now hungry…Blessed are you who are now weeping…Blessed are you when people hate you…and insult you…” (Luke 6:20b, 21a, 21b, 22a)
- “But woe to you who are rich…But woe to you who are filled now…Woe to you who laugh now…Woe to you when all speak well of you…” (Luke 6:24a, 25a, 25b, 26a)
- “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.” (Colossians 3:5-6)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
- “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
- “The LORD is good to all, compassionate toward all his works.” (Psalm 145:9)
- “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Glorious Savior,
we humbly give to You our lives;
do with us as Your Divine Providence wills,
for Your greater honor and glory.
“Make our lives useful to Your service.
The only ambition we have is to humbly
and honestly fulfill Your Divine will.
In this, we wish to lift up Your Name, Jesus, not ours.
“We desire to make known the power of Your Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Divine Love and Truth.
We want You to claim us for Yourself,
and use us according to Your Divine purpose.
“And no matter the task
which You assign to us in life,
we will be contented, and full of joy,
to fulfill our purpose as disciples of Your Spirit.
“Lord Jesus, may Your Holy Spirit live in us always,
guiding us to live a virtuous and fruitful life,
always pleasing to You and helpful to our neighbor,
as we help to build up the Body of Christ.
“Fill our lives with meaning and our hearts with hope.
And when our time here is complete,
bless us with eternal life in Your Heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus, we pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”Anonymous