6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today’s readings teach us that true happiness, or beatitude, lies in the awareness that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that we will be happy only when we share our blessings with our brothers and sisters in need, and when we work to uplift them, thus declaring our “option for the poor,” as Jesus did. Contrary to the popular belief, wealth, health, power and influence are not the source of true happiness. The word “beatitude” means “blessedness” in a double sense: both enjoying God’s favor and enjoying true or supreme happiness.
This Sunday we are asked to put all our trust and confidence in the Lord. We cannot place our confidence in people or in things or in our own actions. This is a strong lesson. We want to trust other people, for sure! And we want to have confidence in our own actions. And there are lots of things that we trust. But this invitation from the Lord calls us to live as profoundly as possible the mystery of God’s presence among us. Some years when we read this Gospel of the Beatitudes, we should reflect on the Beatitudes themselves, but this year, we should read them in the light of the first reading. At the heart of the teaching of the Beatitudes is this same utter trust in God alone. Whether we are poor, hungry, weeping or hated, the only hope we have is in God.
If we want to take one saying with us today, to think about and meditate, it should be this verse from the Prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.”
Even today’s second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, can be read as an appeal to believe in God and in the word of God. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then everything in this life is foolish. We believe in Christ and in everlasting life given to us by God the Father.
At a practical level, we must learn how to trust in God more profoundly. So often we look for our answers to life from everything and everyone except God! This does not mean avoiding a doctor if we are ill or avoiding counseling if we have psychological problems. It does not mean that we just pray ourselves out of an addiction, for example, or out of other problems.
But it does mean that whatever happens in our lives, we should first take the time to listen to God’s word and to live from that Word. It means that we must now live from God’s love and compassion in our lives. If we look at our world today, particularly in the so-called “developed countries,” we find a reliance on money, on power and on attraction. This is what we place our basic trust in—and so seldom in God. How can this change? Only if you and I change. I cannot change others but with God’s grace, I can change my own way of living. Let us pray for that today and ask God that our own inner lives can be transformed so that truly we are living that phrase from the Prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.” May God help us all!
We need to respond to the challenge of the beatitudes in our daily life. Millions are starving, persecuted, homeless, and leading hopeless lives. The only way the promises of the beatitudes can become a reality for them is through the efforts of people like us. Hence, let us remember that each time we reach out to help the needy, the sick and the oppressed, we share with them a foretaste of the promises of the beatitudes here and now.
We must take care to choose our way wisely. “There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.” These are the opening lines of the “Didache” a first century Christian catechism used to teach new Christians the essence of the Christian Faith. The way of life and true happiness is the way of Jesus, the way of the beatitudes, the way of rendering loving service to God by serving our brothers and sisters.
May God Bless us.
FR. S.Vinner HGN