The Beatitudes in the Gospel, as well as this Sunday’s other Scripture Readings, offer a contrast to many of the messages we hear in our society today. If we were to accept uncritically the “get ahead” messages of our culture, we would think that happiness means having money, possessions and being successful in other’s eyes. Not only will we not find happiness in these things alone, but our misplaced trust in them may lead to our demise. Our lives must be firmly rooted in trust in God and care and concern for others. Our vocation as Christians is not to be first in this world but to be first in the eyes of God.
So, do we have to believe that anyone who has more than sufficient or even just enough money, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Do we have to believe that anyone who has abundant or sufficient food cannot enter the Kingdom? Do we have to believe that all those who laugh are not going to enter God’s Kingdom? Probably not! In proclaiming these ‘blessings and woes’ Jesus is referring to the inner attitudes that all of us have in our hearts.
The temptation for everyone is to seek to acquire riches, possessions, a good reputation, and a life filled with laughter, while forgetting and ignoring the poverty and suffering of others. This seems to be why many times the poor are very generous and those who possess much are afraid to give to others what they can for fear of ending up with less or without enough. This is an inner attitude that is against the Gospel. Laughter is good for body and soul, but never at the expense of forgetting entirely those who suffer. Jesus is rebuking the inner attitude of one who only laughs but pays no attention to the mourning that is all around them.
In today’s first reading the prophet Jeremiah calls us to a very deep reflection. We must ask ourselves, in whom, and in what have I put my trust? Putting our trust in God is the best approach to life. Certainly, we must do our best and put forth effort. However, we must not forget that it is God who sustains and blesses our ways and efforts.
Christ is truly risen! St. Paul tells us this so very strongly. If Christ has been raised so will we be raised. If we hope only for this life, we are to be pitied. It is when we begin to hope for eternal life that we can accept giving to others and helping others. It is in hope that we can fast so that others might have food. It is faith that we can cry when we see the misery of our sisters and brothers and finally find the compassion and mercy to help them.
May God lead us all into His Kingdom and keep us on His path.
God love and bless you!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM