Scripture: Lectionary 359. June 11, 2012. I Kings 17:1-6. Psalm 121:1-2,3-4, 5-6, 7-8. Matthew 5:1-12:
You were probably as surprised as I was in seeing and reading the Gospel for today. It was chosen not from the Gospel for the year, that of Mark, but from Matthew! I reasoned that it is a good thing to change the pace we have begun in Mark and to make the Beatitudes of Matthew the spiritual reading and listening to help us through ordinary time! We are blessed indeed to always hear the Beatitudes either from Matthew 5:1-12 or from Luke 6:20-49 as often as possible.
In them we have a blueprint set before us in our journey with Jesus as his disciples. We learn much about our outreach as missionaries for Christ in bringing about justice and peace. We participate as active agents of the saving mission of Jesus when we practice them. They show us the will of God in concrete terms of what the Holy Spirit is doing within us as we live out the beatitudes.
We may wish to take one or two of them today and try to be conscious of them throughout the hours and to put them into practice if the opportunity presents itself to do so. We certainly can take some moments to reflect on one or two of them outside the time we give to them in the liturgy of the Word and Sacrament.
Recently, I made a retreat in a Benedictine monastery in Oregon called Mount Angel (the original monastery is in Engelberg, Switzerland, hence Mount Angel is just the translation of it into English). A young monk asked me to listen to the eulogy he was preparing for the parish to which his recently deceased father belonged. He told me he
looked at the Beatitudes as the Gospel chosen for the Mass of Resurrection or Christian Burial. Realizing that to speak about all the beatitudes while applying them to his father would make the eulogy extremely long. He, therefore, chose the two that actually made sense to him in how he saw and experienced the presence and identity of who his dad came to be once he retired. The monk then chose two beatitudes to prepare the eulogy for his father. the one beatitude dealt with righteousness or holiness while the second with mourning for others whom his dad ministered to. They were people in mourning.
Why these two? His father came to the conclusion that his eating habits were hurting his health and several other habits were not healthy, so he practiced “righteousness” or holiness as a form of wholeness and fasting from “junk food.” The other beatitude characterized the ministry his dad did for the Church by visiting people who were shut-ins or in health care centers. He brought them Holy Communion. He knew they were suffering and many were mourning, so this beatitude became part of his spirituality.
The young monk asked me for observations and corrections. I had only two and he humbly accepted them. I was so impressed with his delivery which he did twice taking into the second performance my corrections. He was very pleased that I listened and told him he has it right. I am sure he did well last week at his home parish.
Fr. Stanley, S.M. a priest of the Marianists taught me as a scholastic that each time a beatitude is practiced, it raises the others to another level. It serves as a thermometer for them and they are at the same level of temperature. It is a good idea to keep us focused on one or two of the beatitudes and thus grow in the others. I also like an idea I discovered in reading about Mary who is called the Blessed (Beatitude) Virgin Mary. For me she is the Beatitudes in action. I have learned much from her during the past few decades. What beatitude will you choose to practice today? Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertand Buby, S.M.