✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 29, 2023: Sunday

“Being inspired by the teaching on the Beatitudes to be a True Follower of Christ and adopting Divine Attitudes in life!”

(Based on Zep 2:3; 3:12-13, 1 Cor 1:26-31 and Mt 5:1-12a – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A)

This popular story is told of a trucker who went into a drive-in restaurant along the highway.

He had ordered a large meal and was beginning to enjoy it…
… when four guys on motorcycles – looking rough and toughs – came in.

These people – local ruffians – roughed up the trucker…
… devoured on the meal that he had ordered and finished it.

The trucker did not talk back to them.

He simply paid his bill and left.

The tough guys were revelling and gloating.
Proudly they began to say, “He didn’t have the guts to say a single word or to lift a hand.

So much of a weakling he was, isn’t it
He didn’t to even raise a voice or didn’t know to retaliate!”

The waiter who seeing all that was happening, came along and added: “He didn’t probably know much of driving either probably!

He just backed his truck over four bikes in the parking lot!”

That’s often how human tendencies are, isn’t it?
… the tendency to laud over others and to display one’s power and arrogance
… the tendency to give back in revenge and to seek for opportunities to avenge

These are tendencies that as human beings we all have – in one form or the other – in one measure or the other

But as a Christian – a follower of Christ – we are challenged to move beyond such “human” (or rather, inhuman!) tendencies, and adopt Divine Attitudes in life.

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful charter of Divine Attributes – BE ATTITUDES – that are to be lived and practised in our day to day being and living!

The Eight Beatitudes – one of the most beautiful passages of the B.I.B.L.E. (sometimes expanded as being “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”!) – presents to us a ready reference on how to live as a True Follower of Christ.

The passage begins with the sentence, “Jesus went up to the mountain and SAT DOWN…and HE BEGAN TO TEACH them” (Mt 5:1)

In the Jewish Tradition, the Rabbi (teacher) would sit and teach.

The Hebrew word ‘Rabbi’ is derived from “rav”, which means ‘Great One’.

When St Matthew specifically mentions that “Jesus sat down and taught”, Jesus is presented as the Rabbi: The Great One – The Teacher – who speaks with great authority.

Jesus is the New Moses, who presents the “New Law- the law of Absolute Love!”

What is this teaching of such great authority?

It’s a teaching which calls for a reversal of the worldly values!
It’s a teaching that turns the worldly standards of greatness upside down!

The world holds in high esteem the aspects of power, prestige, richness and prosperity.
The yardstick of greatness of people is very often measured in terms of these external achievements.

But Jesus, the teacher-par-excellence, reverses this false notion of the world…
… And pronounces BLESSEDNESS to the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted ones!

High jumpers while competing with each other, keep raising the bar higher and higher, to achieve victory.

Similarly, the Beatitudes that are pronounced by Jesus raises the bar – the standards of Christian life are raised to a great proportion.

All the beatitudes, focus on one aspect: The need to lower oneself and instead to understand that “God alone suffices!”

Prophet Zephaniah also reminds us of the need to humble ourselves and be dependent on the Lord:
“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the Lord’s wrath.” (Zeph 2:3)

Very often many questions pop up in our minds…
…. “Why is my life full of suffering, though I seek to live a genuine life?”
… “Why do the unjust prosper, and the people who pursue for justice fail to receive rewards?”
… “Why does success elude me whereas those who adopt wrong means bask in achievements?”

It’s hard to give a downright answer to such questions…
… but the Beatitudes gives us a glimpse into the mind of Jesus: That in all such occasions, our attitude ought to be, “God alone suffices!”

“GOD ALONE SUFFICES” ought to be our motto…
… when we find ourselves at the receiving end, even though after having worked hard, we don’t find the expected success
… when we are still subject to persecutions and hardships even though we live in honesty and truthfulness

In the words of St Paul, let our pride and glory always be the Lord and His Power: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:31)

Of course, this teaching is hard to follow… may even seem impractical…!

Yet, we are not alone…
… Jesus the teacher, Himself is our Model and Example… He walked the talk!

Hanging on the Cross, Jesus became the epitome of the Beatitudes that He Proclaimed

He is the One…
… Who was and is, the Poor, Mourning, Meek, Hungry and Thirsty,
… Who was and is, the Merciful, Clean of Heart, Peacemaker and the Persecuted One!

Today let us look to Jesus, the Teacher and the One who lived out the Beatitudes, and make our Christian life more meaningful!

As human beings we do have tendencies to laud over others or display power and arrogance or to give back in revenge or to seek for opportunities to avenge etc

But let this Teaching on the Beatitudes help us as a True Follower of Christ to move beyond such “inhuman” tendencies…
… and adopt Divine Attitudes in life.

In the words of Fulton Sheen:
“It’s hard to be a Christian…
… but it’s harder not to be one!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Apostolic Constitution ‘Sacram unctionem infirmorum,’ following upon the Second Vatican Council, established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil – pressed from olives or from other plants – saying, only once: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” (CCC #1513)

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