Reflections

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time, June 10, 2019 

The Beatitudes …Blessed Are You
Introduction
“As we have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so do we share in his consolation,” Paul tells us today.
What Jesus proposes in the beatitudes is a turning upside-down of values, (attuned with the message of Paul in Year I). But we are not too eager to take them seriously; they are too uncomfortable… Many say they are utopian, or rather, degrading and debasing. But that can be said of many parts of the gospel, unless you believe. Followers of Christ are dreamers, of a brotherhood of all people, of a better world and a better earth. 

1 Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33: 1-8
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord 

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad. R.

Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. R.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed. R.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! R.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying: 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.” 

Commentary
The prelude to Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians is a practical presentation of the Matthean second Beatitude: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Depression is a word that I never fully understood until I was well into my ministry. It is not simply experiencing a “low” or “feeling bad.” It is a psychological state of mind that calls for the help of a professional person. At one time I sat for lengthy periods with a man who twelve years prior had urged his pregnant fiancee to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. His failure had been dealt with sacramentally and spiritually years before. But he never succeeded in overcoming his deep sense of guilt. His failure kept returning and, try as he would, he remained unconvinced that God had forgiven him.
Paul speaks today of the encouragement in his life and ministry that comes from God the Father. It is that spirit of endurance that flows from faith that enables Paul to bring encouragement to those who suffer. Just as his difficulties are endured for others, so too the encouragement that he receives redounds to the good of others. He is quite confident for the Corinthians. If they share in his sufferings, they share in his encouragement as well.
Encouragement goes beyond words. There are times when there is nothing to say. What is needed is simply a calming presence. To sit quietly at the bedside of a very sick person. To hold a hand, to say a prayer, to kiss a furrowed brow. These are ways in which encouraging comes to life. 

Blessing
The disciples of Jesus are called “blessed,” that is happy, if we are so open to God that we let him fill us with something of his own happiness. We have to be poor, not filled with ourselves. Then the happiness of God’s kingdom will be ours, like a foretaste of the happiness of heaven. Put yourselves in God’s hands and ask him to bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

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