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January 29th, 30th,/2011
4th Sunday In O.T. – Cycle A
 

 

The Sermon On The Mount

 

Reading 1

Zep 2:3; 3:12-13

 

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

 

Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

Responsorial Psalm

R. (Mt 5:3) Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
 

1 Cor 1:26-31

Reading 2

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
“Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

 

Gospel

Mt 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

 

 

 

 

        I have read many reflections on the beatitudes, have heard several homilies that were very good, and have read some excellent excerpts, but I won't talk about those beatitudes today.  I will make one comment to sum them all up (for now) and that is:  "Blest are we for making God number one in our lives."  You know, like before money, before fame, before popularity, before politics, television, new houses, cars, toys for kids, before anything else that might interfere with Him being first and foremost in our lives.  That's the only way that we will come to know happiness and holiness.  Our call to God's Kingdom is a call to holiness, and that is a life time pursuit.  Could it be that holiness is giving of oneself completely and totally to God for whatever purpose God wants to use us for?   In our efforts to pursue holiness we can appreciate the truth that the beatitudes challenge us to go deeper beneath the surface of our being to make that happen.

 

        Perhaps we might say that they are about how we can put God's love into action, about doing those things that will make it possible for us to have an eternal presence with God, about living out God's love for us.  It takes a very different kind of courage to respond to those words spoken by Jesus on that mountainside.  And you should know that there is great risk, there is always a great risk in living out God's love, because there is always those people and those temptations that will try to persuade us not to.  When you think about it, how many have been persecuted for holiness' sake in some way or another?  Living this journey of life as God's plan for us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is not so easy as it might sound.  For to do so we must put ourselves aside for the sake of those in poverty, jobless, sickness, the outcasts, the homeless, those who are weak and hungry for a better outcome in their lives.

 

        Perhaps we are too busy only, with obeying the Ten Commandments, which God inferred (These you can at least obey!) that we forget about where the real challenge lies for all Christians, and that is indeed these words that Jesus spoke on that mountain.  That is not to say that the Ten Commandments are not important, of course they are.  They were given to Moses for his people during a time when they were worshiping false Gods.  And when challenged by the Pharisees about those commandments, Jesus went on to say, "I am the fulfillment of the old law.  I give you two new commandments, to love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Everything of the old law is contained in these two commandments."  

 

     Yes, we live in a crappy world, a very troubling country.  There is much that is going wrong, much that is being done that is not of God.  We do our best to remedy that situation, but could it be that we got this way because too many of us did not listen and heed the things that Jesus said that we should do, these words of the beatitudes?  If Jesus is calling us to follow Him, he is certainly calling us to be doers of his word and not just believers and hearers.  If we want to put God first in our lives as well as in our country and our world, we have to put Him first in our hearts, in our families, and in our relationships with others.

 

It's not about us folks, it's about God and what His will is.  Yes, many of us are limited in someway, just about everyone is.  That is why we don't go it alone.  We journey together, our sinfulness and all, despite our sinfulness and all, to the best that we are able.  Effort is what counts to God.  Have we done the most with what he has given us?  Our talents, our treasures, our gifts, our skills, our wisdom, our everything.  And we have to do that in our own brokenness, carrying our own crosses, our illnesses, our pain, our suffering, beyond our own limits sometimes, and that can only come about with the help of God and those he sends into our lives.

 

        Jesus wasn't speaking to just those folks in front of him below on that mountain that day.  He was speaking to all of humankind for all times.  Until we release ourselves unto his will, the world will never change for the better, our country is not going to change for the better.  I could tell you that it is just like our leaders have been telling us, but that is very iffy at best.  Things are not good in this world.  Look at what is going on in Egypt, the protests bursting forth, in other countries as well. Government is not going to change anything for the better,  the bigger our government gets, the more oppressed it's people get.  Only God can help us or anyone.  Sin has interfered with his plan, not just in the past, but it's a reality today as well.  You know it and I know it.  And we all know what the results have been.

             

The future of our children and grandchildren are definitely at risk.  Nothing is ever going to change unless I change, unless you change.  We can't sit on our proud achievements of the past.  I use to do this and I use to do that.  I did my share, let someone else do it.  I gave my share years ago.  This isn't years ago people.  This is now, and Jesus is preaching from that mountainside now.  Will we respond or turn our ears and heart away?  Will we start praying like there is no tomorrow?  We need to pray while there is still today, and only in the power of prayer will any change come about that is of God. And only hope will lead us to a deeper commitment to prayer.  May our Lord bless each of you with a great week ahead, and with good health to all.  Pray for peace.  God bless.

 

 © Deacon Steve A. Politte

January 29th, 2011 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Just Three Words . . . !


He spoke just three words
after His baptism in the Jordon River.
"Come Follow Me -
and your sins I will deliver."

But, not just only their sins -
those fishermen by the sea,
for our sins also he would die -
that we might share eternity.

Eternal life would be restored -
as Adam and Eve had disobeyed;
for eternal life was taken from us -
in the Garden of Eden that day.

He began to call on several others -
fishermen and men of other trades,
to walk with Him on a journey -
for they did not know the way.

After twelve was selected -
to be his close disciples and friends,
He set the course before them, -
they must follow till His very end.

The "Teacher" as they called Him -
laid before them His plan,
a journey not so pleasant -
as they would travel amid the land.

"Come follow Me" he said to many -
as the journey to Calvary began,
preaching to them in parables -
that they might better understand.

He cured many of their illnesses -
the blind, the deaf, and the lame,
and after they were restored to health -
they gave glory and praise to his name.

Those he called were all sinners -
the downtrodden and the lost,
to follow in his footsteps -
but to first pick up their cross.

He fed them when they were hungry -
often times there was nothing to eat;
He even took five loaves and two fish,
and replaced the hunger of each.

The crowds grew in numbers unfathomed -
just to hear his kind and gentle voice,
told them that their lot would not be easy -
that they would have to make a choice.

It was a difficult journey to travel -
he was challenged by hearts of hate,
laughed at, scorned, and rebuked -
this son of God who knew his fate.

As the final days of the journey unfolded -
many of those followers would stray,
He would be denied and left all alone,
and eventually he would be betrayed.

Laid upon his shoulders was a cross -
when he labored up Calvary's hill,
scourged, beaten, and bloody -
the soldiers tried to break his will.

His death was a result of his great love -
for sinners such as you and me,
and three words still echo in my heart -
He says them still yet this day,
"Come follow Me!"



© Steve A. Politte
2007
 

 

 
 

 

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