God Blesses and Draws the Humble to Himself
Readings: 1st: Zep 2:3; 3, 12-13; Ps: 145; 2nd: I Cor 1:26-31; Gos: Mt 5:1-12
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
On this fourth Sunday of ordinary time, the church reminds us of the important fact that God delights in the humble. He draws near them, gathers them to himself, and blesses them. He looks at the meek and lowly and fills them with his wisdom, virtue, and the holiness of Christ. Therefore, only in God do the humble and the righteous depend on and boast.
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In the first reading from the book of Zephaniah, God promises to preserve a remnant for Israel. However, one remarkable thing about this promise is that this group would be made up of only humble and lowly people. Through the church, God has invited us to form part of these humble people that put their confidence in Him. He invites us to be part of this remnant through integrity, honesty, humility, and obedience to God. We sometimes try to resist this prestigious rest to which God has invited us. This is because we often think we can get it only with money, fame, and power. Let us not deceive ourselves but continue to follow the permanent values that radiate from the person and life of Jesus Christ.
In our second reading, Paul reminds us that God delights in the humble heart. Although He does not discriminate, he often chooses the lowly and poor in spirit. So, Paul encourages us not to be ashamed of the Christian community because of its composition of members of little human wisdom, intelligence, power, and material wealth. Most of our communities are made up of the poor of the world. This is the will of God manifested in Christ Jesus and testified in the rest of the revelation.
Hence, Paul reminds us that God called us to form part of the remnant even when we were not wise in the ordinary sense of the world. He did this to realize His Plan. He did not choose us because we were wise or rich. Instead, He chose us because of our lowliness. Through this, God has become our wisdom, virtue, and holiness. These are the qualities he really desires in his people. All those who have these are blessed.
The gospel of today is from the sermon on the mountain. Christ recounts and reminds us of the most important Christian virtues that will help us become part of this remnant God promises to elect for himself in our first reading. If we meditate on this, we will see that the poor in spirit, that is, those who suffer, those who mourn, the hungry and thirsty for justice, those who work for peace, the merciful, the pure in heart, the insulted and persecuted are living a voluntarily stripped life that draws them closer to God.
They are the living blessedness we see in the saints of all times. Saint Francis was stripped in poverty, saint Ignatius in obedience, saint Augustine preferred the love of God, saint Thomas Aquinas embraced the wisdom of God, and saint Theresa of Avila soaked herself in prayer. These and other saints are reflections of the same Christ. They are blessed. Today the church reminds us that we could also be part of them if we persevere. Today, they are the full members of the remnants of God’s eternal kingdom. They pray and wait for us to join them. “How happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”
Peace be with you!Maranatha!