Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn. That always seemed to me to be a strange blessing. When I hear this, I sometimes think of people in a funeral home crying at the death of a loved one. Is the Lord saying that a person is blessed because the person is in grief? That cannot be possible. God isn't happy when we have pain. At least, not my God. Maybe we are being encouraged to share in the grief of others, not to let people be alone in their grief. Perhaps. Certainly the Lord blesses people who leave the comfort of their lives to be exposed to other people's pain[1].

But this beatitude is a lot deeper than that. Do you remember when Jesus said, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Well, Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the center of God's chosen people refused to recognize the presence of the Messiah. He wept over Jerusalem because the people there were more concerned with their possessions and their lives than with the presence of God among them. He wept over Jerusalem because the people thought they were self sufficient. He wept over Jerusalem because he could see the destruction their own actions were bringing on themselves.

We have only one life, not two lives. We are Catholic, Christian citizens. We are not Catholic here and citizens there. For our whole lives we have heard the Church saying that what takes place in our Sunday worship must be reflected in our daily lives. If we are going to speak to each other about the Love of God in church Sunday, then we need to be living the love of God in the way we treat other people during the week. The problem is that some people act as though they are two different people, saying one thing in Church and acting in a completely opposite way in public. Just as it is wrong for a person to be a fine family man in Church on Sunday and be cheating on his wife during the week, it is also wrong for a person to claim certain convictions in Church and others outside of Church. Indeed, the well hacked out statement, "I am opposed to this personally but would not publically oppose this", simply translates into "I do not have the courage to stand by my convictions." Integrity, in one word. We should to grow in this virtue. Every day.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because he could see the destruction the actions of the people were bringing on themselves. We, in the Church, weep for our country over those areas that are leading the country to moral decay. "A Catholic cannot say that he is Catholic, and at the same time disagree with the doctrine of the Church in essential matters. In order to be a Catholic, we need to believe like a Catholic, to act like a Catholic and to speak like a Catholic[2].

Blessed are those who mourn, for we shall be comforted[3].

[1] 4th Sunday Ordinary time, Gospel: Mt 5:1-12a.
[2] Archbishop Gomez made this statement in a speech on "Catholics and Political Life in the United States
[3] Cfr http://www.archdiosa.org/documents/FCStatement.pdf

Ilustration: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Last Judgment (detail), 1537-41FrescoCappella Sistina, (Vatican)

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris