4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Pro-Life Sunday

St. Joseph Freinademetz

First reading: 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.

Second reading: 1 Cor. 1:26–31

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.”

In other words 

Fr. Lino E. Nicasio, SVD (The National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus)

To be “blessed” has different meanings to different people. Some equate blessedness with luck; hence, blessed or lucky in marriage, business, work, studies, or in some other enterprise one undertakes. God does not need to enter the picture here, for “Lady Luck” is in control. Others associate blessedness with eating round fruits, especially on New Year or Chinese New Year.

In the Gospel, however, we find a different and real meaning of blessedness, which means abundant blessings of God, including joy, peace, serenity, and happiness in the Lord. Blessedness has nothing to do with luck, wealth, or financial prosperity, but with how one is before the Lord: poor for the sake of God and the Kingdom, being sorrowful for sins, being meek and humble like Jesus, being holy before the Lord and bearing insults and persecutions for the sake of God.

There are quite a number of books on how to be happy, but I believe they all miss the point if what they propose does not touch on what Jesus teaches about happiness or blessedness. Many are sad, lonely, and even depressed in this “valley of tears;” let them read and reflect on the Beatitudes, making life meaningful, blessed, and happy. Indeed true happiness comes only from the Lord. May his blessings come upon us always.

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