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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13;I Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12

Today's three readings center on a very basic theme of Christianity and yet one that we forget on a very regular basis: God is "most" with the small, the simple, the ones who live most trustingly in and for Him.  The last or littlest shall indeed be first, the widow's mite is the most valuable of all the gifts given, and unless we approach the Lord as children we cannot be saved: the texts, teachings, and stories in both testaments are too numerous to list.

What does that mean practically?  Jesus describes it in this Gospel as:

 -- having a freedom from all sorts of possessing (interiorly and exteriorly, both wealth and all sorts of power or prestige)

 -- refusing to be completely satisfied with the world as it is or to take a falsely joyous refuge from God in the insignificant and the superficial

 -- squarely facing the realities of daily life instead of taking the easy way around them

 -- being centered on God alone and striving for nothing less than living as Jesus did live once and would live now

 -- exercising gentleness and personal presence to the weak and wounded, not just donating at a distance

 -- desiring God alone and in all aspects of our lives

 -- seeking true conflict resolution beyond the call of human legalities and mere human justice

 -- accompanying Jesus in his innocent suffering, not out of a sense of martyrdom but out of simple desire to be with and to imitate the one we love with all our heart.

At the end of this series of attitudes and fundamental postures Jesus speaks no longer of "they" but now of "you": this is not theory or theology, it is a personal call to walk with the Lord in his work and to let Him walk with us as we live.  This is not a matter of loss or sour grapes, not a making-do for the less fortunate, it is Jesus calling us to learn what it really means to "be glad and rejoice" -- in Him alone.

By Charles Kestermeier

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