Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13; Psalms 146:6-10; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a
The Beatitudes of Matthew’s Gospel point to a growing blessing of God, even amidst great trials and persecution in our lives. God’s joy flows from his divine grace within us from our baptism and other sacraments and prayer life. This will lead us through life to eternal joy and glory with God and all the angels and saints in heaven.
You might ask how is that possible? Look at the struggles in our country and the world such as the Pro-Life movement in the last 44 years in America? Yet this culture of death and murder is going on in most of the world. We can look at the current war in Syria and the Middle East.
Where is God?
We can ask where is God and where is his vindication and justice. How does God care for the poor ones and those caught in the cross-fires of so many conflicting philosophies and anti-god world powers hungry for control and money?
We can look at our government and its lack of ability to care for our poor while we allow so many foreigners to flood our southern border looking for a better life in America. Can we take care of all of the world’s poor? Where is God in all of this in our pluralistic society?
Zephaniah speaks of a small faithful group of Jewish people who trust God and not in their own power and strength. Psalm 146 carries that same theme. Blessed are the poor and humble in spirit, for the kingdom of God will be theirs.
The Beatitudes then and now
St. Matthew today tells the story of Jesus gathering his students/disciples. He talks to them about dealing with several issues confronting them back then. Now we ask, “Yes, Lord, that was then but what about us in the diversity of our country and our world today?” Matthew and the early church expressed a value system that can help us find God’s solution for the poor and humble to look to him for their way of life. This is not for personal gain but to advance the plans of God to help others. It also allows us to grow from a physical experience to a real spiritual growth.
We must take the Beatitudes and carefully look at them. (I have a sheet in the .rtf format that will help you understand the growth of the Beatitudes in our whole life that you can request.) We need to turn to Jesus and away from so many false principles and enticements of our culture. It is not easy. Yet understanding these nine statements, in three groups of three, will help us move from stage to stage up the spiritual ladder with some degree of ease.
Culture of life
Friday was the greatest march for Pro-Life in the world. Many other countries have followed our lead in holiness to respect all human life. All life is made in the image and likeness of God and is precious from con to natural death. Our scientific DNA at conception sets most of the characteristics of our human life. Each of us is either male or female and all of us slightly different even in identical twins. It amazes me how diverse is God’s creation.
Abortion is the offering of innocent unborn humans to the controlling demon, named in the Old Testament, as Moloch. For at least 3,000 years, all over the world in most cultures, his worship has been human sacrifices. All human life is sacred physically, scientifically, morally and spiritually.
Seeing and listening to the witnesses of so many beautiful people in the Washington, D.C. “March for Life” last Friday was truly inspiring to me. Most of us who were not there can help spread the “culture of life” and stand against the “culture of death,” by our daily prayers, especially more daily Masses, monthly confession, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the rosary.
God empowers us in many ways to add our time and involvement to bring more of his love into the world. So we also want to live better Catholic lives in the kingdom of God to extend his love to more people.
Have a blessed and fruitful week
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)