Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 3, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 5:1-12a

A reflection on today's Scripture:

With this Fourth Sunday, we're up to our necks in "ordinary time"óliving the Christian life in the messiness of everyday life.

We're into the boring grind of "just living." Perhaps it's not so boring if we have the right equipment . . . like tough faith, tough love, and lots of humility! We're talking here about the Beatitudes. If you think the Ten Commandments are demanding, try the Beatitudes on for size! They make the Decalogue look like a piece of cake!

With even more authority than Moses, Jesus is pictured in the Gospel as sitting down, the traditional posture for delivering solemn edicts. He turns middle-class values upside down. Have you ever had your picture taken while standing on your head? You'd look pretty foolish, wouldn't you? Well, that's the way the Beatitudes make a comfortable, easy-going Christian lookójust plain foolish!

So we protest: "Do you mean that I have to sit down on the street and cry with a homeless person, or a poor woman just evicted from her apartment? Or . . . ?" Perhaps nothing so dramatic. Let's try a different approach.

Have you ever in your life written to your congressman about unjust legislation? Currently, in New York State, there's the Governor's Program Bill #16 (S.5829). It's called the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act. It would allow abortions into the third trimester at an outpatient clinic that could be performed by any health care practitioner. For more information, go to www.nyscatholic.org or ask your parish secretary to give you the address of the New York State Catholic Conference. Then sit down and write! This is how an ordinary Catholic can live the Beatitudes.

Or have you ever taken the time to visit a home for the elderly, or volunteered your time as an auxiliary at your local hospital? Have you ever asked your pastor for the names of some shut-ins who need a phone call, or a note, or a sick person who could use a bowl of soup, or someone to bring them Holy Communion?

It's a question of attitude, looking at those less fortunate from the conviction that you yourself have been incredibly blest by the Lord, and hoping to give just a little bit back in thanksgiving.

And what are the rewards? Zephaniah says the faithful remnant will live a life of peacefulness, and Jesus says such a person is "blessed," and they will have unimaginable rewards in the Kingdom.

It would be impossible to assess the influence of the Sermon on the Mount on the history of Christianity. Those who have taken seriously the "option for the poor" have suffered great loss economically, politically, and personally. Jesus told us to expect that treatment. After all, He is the prime example for the martyrdom that results when Truth confronts Power. Only God's grace can give us the courage to imitate the Lord in whatever ways our circumstances will suggest. Then, we need not wait very long to experience the solace, the peace, and the joy of heart flowing into our souls from defending the poor and the powerless of this world.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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