Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29, 2017)

The Gospel for today focuses on how to be happy by living the beatitudes. If one takes apart the word “beatitudes,” one sees the expression “Be-attitudes.” In other words, beatitude is a positive attitude that permeates our whole interior life in such a way that it comes out in our actions by praising and thanking God. When we are blessed we don’t have all the material comforts we want but all that we need. In our present condition there is joy and peace. Everything that comes into our life advances our love of life and God. The Beatitudes is God’s plan for us right now. Beatitude is a spiritual attitude of recognizing that all that we have is pure gift. Beatitude is the attitude of a loving person who relies totally on God, not worrying about self-interest. People who possess the gift of beatitude entrust all their interests to God.

St. Francis de Sales speaks of beatitude as a gift of love that makes us moldable and willing to listen to God’s commandments, counsels and inspirations. However, he adds that while Our Lord taught us “Blessed are the poor,” we eagerly desire and seek to be so wealthy as to lack nothing. Jesus adds, “Blessed are the meek” but each of us wants to lord it over others. “Blessed are those persecuted for justice sake,” yet we want to be avenged and suffer nothing, for fear of being despised. “Blessed are they who mourn,” nonetheless everybody wants to rejoice in this mortal and passing life as if here were found our true happiness.

The wisdom of the Beatitudes is wholly contrary to that of the worldly wise who cannot embrace this wisdom. Let us submit ourselves to the things that are taught us concerning God’s will for our perfection and spiritual advancement. Let us place ourselves out of danger of being lost in worldly things by persevering in the truth, in living according to it, and making ourselves capable of understanding it. They who keep the Word of God are declared blessed by Our Lord.

(Adapted from L. Fiorelli, ed., Sermons, V.3).