Missionary Weekly Reflections
Sunday, January 29, 2023
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Zeph. 2:3; 3:12-13; Ps. 146:1,7,8-9a,9bc-10; 1Cor. 1:26-31; Matt. 5:1-12a
The Gospel reading that we reflect on today is often called the Beatitudes. The Lord Jesus showed His disciples what they must do to make them blessed. If we examine them one by one, what the Lord Jesus conveyed as Beatitudes is far from what the world thinks. Let’s look at the first three Beatitudes of the eight Beatitudes according to the evangelist Matthew.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The world’s people think that those who are rich can rule and have a world empire. Why did the Lord Jesus say the opposite? Here Jesus talks about “spiritual” poverty, which is an attitude of life in which a person relies more on God than relying on his own strength and wealth. People like this put their whole life in God’s hands, they always hope in God because they believe that God is the source of their help. The Lord Jesus said people like this are blessed because they have the Kingdom of Heaven (note: not the Kingdom of the world!). The attitude of the heart that is opposite to spiritual poverty is the attitude of a proud person, who relies more on his own strength than on God’s. People who fall into this category do not have the Kingdom of Heaven because in their hearts there is no place for God and others.
“Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How can we understand this word? People of the world try to avoid suffering as much as possible but Jesus here says blessed are those that mourn! Even though people try to avoid suffering, in fact, the suffering of life is always there in this life. People who deny suffering usually feel more and more depressed and suffer even more. On the other hand, those who want to embrace suffering as part of Jesus’ discipleship will find comfort in Him. The comfort they receive will enable them to comfort others who are suffering. Blessed be they!
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The world’s people think that it is the strong ones who will own the earth because with their strength they will defeat their enemies and eventually rule the earth. That is not the way Jesus thought. In the Gaudete et Exsultate document, Pope Francis gives a good explanation of this Beatitude, “People may object: ‘If I am too gentle, they will think I am stupid, fool or weak’. No matter how people think that way, be gentle. It is better always to be meek, then our deepest longing will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, because they will see God’s promises fulfilled in their lives. In every situation, those who are meek place their hope in the Lord, and those who hope in Him will possess the earth and enjoy full peace” (cf. Ps. 37:9.11), (GE, 74).
Do you want to live truly blessed? Let’s live the Beatitudes of Jesus. Of course, it’s not easy because we have to live contrary to the world’s mentality. But it’s not impossible because Jesus and His disciples have lived it. We need to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. If we ask for His help, He Himself will enable us to do it.
(RP. Yakobus Sriyatmoko, SX – Master of Novices of the Xaverian Congregation at Xaverian House Bintaro, Tangerang)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:
For the purpose of Universal Churches: The educators
We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all.
For the purpose of Indonesian Churches: Optimism and hope
We pray, may this new year be a time of grace, that encourages us to be optimistic, believe, and hope that the Spirit of God will guide and open our eyes to see opportunities and solutions in any adversities, problems, and challenges we are facing.