for Sunday, January 29, 2017
Seek the Lord! This Sunday the message we can hear loudly and clearly is this: Seek the Lord. It is expressed in all three of the readings and we must take some time to listen to what God is telling us!
The first reading is from the Prophet Zephaniah and tells us how to seek the Lord: do no wrong and tell no lies! What an ideal world that would be if all of us could live that way! On the other hand, even if we fail to live that we, we can keep striving to live that way. The challenge is that our present world no longer know what good is and what wrong is. The world does not know truth from lies. We are beset on every side with values that are so different from the values given to us in the Scriptures that people become confused. Far too often, whatever the present cultures wants to call good is accepted as good and whatever it wants to call bad is accepted as bad. Yet we who follow the Lord Jesus, have the Word of God to form us and to guide us into all truth.
The second reading comes from the First Letter to the Corinthians. This letter reminds us that if we actually do choose to follow the Word of God and to follow Jesus as our Savior, we will be considered fools. This shows up over and over today. But we are told in this reading: "God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise." It is our foolishness in following Jesus that can actually bring light to the world and perhaps even draw the world back to God. The early Christians knew that to live in Christ was to fight against the values of the world. The early Christians even know that they might have to die to proclaim the truth given to us in Christ Jesus.
We Christians today like to be comfortable and to be well off. There is nothing wrong with that by itself, but when we are willing to water down the Word of God in order to maintain a comfortable life style, then we must recognize that we are betraying Jesus as our Lord. None of us wants to be a "fanatic," someone so obsessive about his or her religion that all we do is irritate others. On the other hand, we must be able to stand up for the truth of the teachings of Scripture and of our Catholic Church. When we find ourselves compromising because we don't want to bother others, then we are betraying our Lord once again.
The Gospel from Saint Matthew today gives us what we call the Beatitudes. The sayings of Jesus reflect what it is to follow the Lord: poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the sake of righteousness, insulted for Christ, persecuted for Christ, and evil spoken about us because of Christ. This is a pretty strong list of characteristics for us!
The implication today is that we must give our whole being to God. We must follow Jesus with all of our strength. When we fail, we must get up and start again. Compromising with anything less than Jesus simply means following the world and its values and not following our Lord.
My sisters and brothers, this Sunday invites us to renew our commitment to the Lord Jesus. Let us walk in His ways and accept all the suffering that will bring to us. We want to be in His kingdom now and forever.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Zephaniah 2.3; 3.12-13
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.26-31
Gospel: Matthew 5.1-12
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: