Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29, 2017)

We have just heard very familiar words from the mouth of Jesus.

We know that his words are instructive, they are also filled with joyful encouragement. Our God rewards those who struggle to be poor in spirit and humble, those who hunger and thirst to be holy, those who show mercy and work for peace, and especially those who suffer for their efforts to be holy.

When we make an effort to follow the lead of grace and be like Jesus, we are blessed and have reason to be glad. We are promised the reward of heaven.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians remind us of the great paradox of our existence. The lowly of the world are called by God to be his friends, brothers and sisters of His Son - not the wise and influential whom people of the world seek. Only the weak, the low-born, those who count for nothing are able to recognize the deeper realities of creation and give thanks for the wonderful mercy and love of God. They are overjoyed to let God be God. They are open to all that grace can do in their lives. They can take refuge in the Lord.

The prophet Zephaniah encourages us to continue to seek the Lord, observe his law, and seek justice and humility. When we live in this manner, then we are part of the faithful remnant whom God leaves in the midst of the world as a leaven.

As followers of de Sales, we have often heard the words of the beatitudes. They are the foundation for “Live, Jesus!” May we find joy in hearing them again, and may they urge us on in our efforts to be humble and gentle as Jesus was.