The Pastor’s Thoughts — January 29, 2023, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 23, 2023 |

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

In today’s Gospel, 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…” It is not by chance that Jesus went up the mountain to teach His disciples and the crowds. Moses went up the mountain of Sinai to receive the “Ten Commandments” from God. The “Ten Commandments,” given to the Israelites, contained God’s Covenant with His chosen people, a Covenant of freedom from slavery and death in Egypt.

We probably picture Moses coming down Mount Sinai holding two tablets, each with “Five” of the Commandments. Those tablets represented God’s Covenant with His people, so each tablet contained the complete “Ten Commandments.” One tablet was God’s part of the Covenant, and the other tablet was the Israelites’ part of the Covenant. Guess which side broke their part of the Covenant?

Jesus, on this mountainside, tells His chosen people, in fact, all people, including you and me, how to live in His New Covenant, a Covenant of freedom from slavery to sin and eternal death, a Covenant of love and life. This time the Covenant between God and man will not be broken, because it is between Jesus and His Church, sealed with His own blood, shed on the Cross.

The Beatitudes that Jesus gives us turns this world’s standards upside down. Jesus tells us that God gives us happiness; we cannot win it, achieve it, merit it, or buy it. Jesus teaches the crowds, and us, that happiness will come to people with open hands, humble hearts, and receptive spirits.

Jesus not only tells us in the Beatitudes how we are to live our lives, but what blessings and hope this living brings us. To live humbly in righteousness is the hope that we should have, that when our earthly journey is complete, we will be truly blessed to hear the words of our Lord, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

A little humility goes a long way because it gives us eternal hope. “Blessed are the poor in spirit – theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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