4th Week of Ordinary Time (6th February, 2019)
First Reading: Heb 12:4-7, 11-15
Gospel: Mk 6:1-6
Today’s gospel bears the commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount or Beatitudes. It is also called the Charter of Christian life. These beatitudes contain eight declarations. The term ‘blessed’ is referred to a condition of ‘spiritual well being’ and prosperity. Each declaration contains two parts. While the first part speaks of the disposition of each to be ‘blessed’, the second part tells about the consequence of them. The first part of the statement is about being poor, mourning, being meek, being hungry for righteousness, being merciful, poor, peacemakers and persecuted. The second part of the beatitudes is the consequences i.e., Kingdom of heaven, comfort, inheritance of the earth, mercy, seeing God, inheriting kingdom of heaven etc.
The character of the blessed people is, for the worldly eyes, seem to be the disposition of the strong. It looks as if it is the character of those utterly the least in the country of the worldly. But actually, it is not so. First there is description of the poor in spirit. It means that those people with their yearning are always upon the Lord. They do not consider what the world offers as satisfactory on the other hand look for grace of God always and the reward for such yearning is the kingdom of heaven. Then we have those who mourn. This mourning is not upon any calamity or disaster that has come upon but mourning for not being in the company of the Lord and strive all the while to be so. Such will receive comfort at the hands of God. Then third is the call for being meek. It is true that meekness would be counted as weakness just as it happens in the behavior of the least privileged in the world. But the meek person as described here is a person whose meekness begins with God. It also ends with Him. One is called meek because he realizes his position in the presence of God and becomes meek for him. They are such who shall inherit the earth. The fourth ‘blessed’ are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is a call to realize that nothing in the world would satisfy us except His grace and we are to look for it alone so that we may be filled. The fifth beatitude invites us to be merciful because he fills us with His mercy. His unceasing mercy on us calls us to reflect the same upon life of others so that we may obtain mercy from Him. The sixth invitation is to be pure in heart. Jesus always made people realize the importance of inward cleanliness. Jesus wants us to be pure in heart and not merely to cleanse our acts on the outside. The cleanliness of heart is necessary because from it ensures all sorts of uncleanliness. When we are pure of heart, we shall see God. Jesus says, “Peace I bring to you” (Jn 14:27). He also instructs his disciples to announce peace upon entering any house. Today such an act of sharing peace with others is described as requisite for being called children of God. Such peace has to be established with friends and foes alike. Then we hear those persecuted for His Gospel are called ‘blessed’. The reward is far greater when we are ready to lose our life for others and especially for His sake. Let us ponder on these principles Jesus Christ offers us to inherit His Kingdom and be in union with Him. Let us strive to adopt these recipes of being ‘blessed’ so that we may be worthy to receive the rewards that come with them. Amen.