THE CHURCH OF THE BEATITUDES
Gospel Mt 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. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
REFLECTION: " Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
Are you disturbed about what is going on? We are quarantined and social distanced, our loved ones are in nursing homes and we cannot hug or touch them but talk to them only through a window or by phone. Many who have died can only have a funeral of ten people. Many died without the last rites and without family.
Some churches have reservations for Mass, others have a number keeper and if you go over the 25% you are asked not to come in. One week we are calling out those who decide to break from the facial masks or social distancing but then the following week protesters are locked arm in arm in solidarity. Then in the name of righteous indignation and justice, people are killed, shops are looted and then the food fight of words has descended upon the cable shows. !!
There are times I feel I am on a mountain but lose track if I am going uphill or downhill. Totally disorienting.
In today's reading Jesus reminds us that He is the center of our lives, our focus. With the beatitudes He shows us that to achieve the blessings of the kingdom is to follow Him. This is not the blessings of health, wealth or physical well being. Wherever and whatever is going on in our lives or in the world, no matter how lofty or lowly our life is, He is there to show us how to get to the Kingdom--through discipleship in His Cross. Jesus is poor in spirit, He mourns, He is meek, He is hungry and thirsty, He is merciful, clean of heart, He is a peacemaker and is persecuted and insulted with every kind of evil .
"' Go home and when you see your father at a distance, run, run, run to meet him. Then wrap him in your arms and embrace him. Hug him tight and, while you embrace him, count up to seven without letting him go: one... two...three...four...five...six...seven After a few seconds you'll see that he'll try to pull away from you, but you squeeze him even tighter and then, he, too will embrace you even tigher. Then after these seven seconds , let him go and look right into his eyes. Your father will cry. You'll cry. Everybody will cry. You will have made that man become a father again." This is on the first page of the story of Mother Elvira Petrozzi and the Story of Community Cenacolo. "The Embrace of God's Mercy". This is what she tells anyone leaving the Cenacolo and going back home.
Mother Elvira is a remarkable person. She is the foundress of the Cenacolo Community in northern Italy. She began in a ramshackle building and now there are 70 communities throughout the world. I visited the one in Medjugorje.
Hers is not an easy task. She helps addicts and alcoholics have an encounter with God, the source of true happiness. And men and women, some off the streets, some tired of their wayward ways, are spending time with God in adoration, saying three mysteries of the rosary daily, and performing good and healthy work. Mother Elvira has shown them God’s mercy, to a journey of rebirth.
" Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
Despair, delusion, desperation, dissatisfaction, shame, stupidity, lost relationships, abject resignation that it's all over, wounded human souls and wounded families are what come in to the Cenacolo. They undertake a path of sacrifice, hard work, joy, and prayer. And the eyes of mercy of God from the Cross gaze on those hurting and His love transcends the impossible. He sees the little child with tears and saves him from the grave. He brings the prodigal into His embrace, back to Him.
Be merciful and bear all our grievances to God where we will meet Him at the threshold of earth and heaven. Mercy will not forsake us. Thank you, Mother Elvira for your love of God.
God Bless You