4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 29th January, 2017

Love God - and Do as You Like!

This Sunday’s Gospel on the Beatitudes invite us to a way of living that brings true happiness and both inward and outward peace. In living according to them, we find our true identity as children of God.

Where the Ten Commandments offer us clear guidelines for behaviour - what is and what is not allowed - the Beatitudes focus on our inner dispositions and set out for us the qualities of how we should live so that we can maintain a loving relationship with God and others.

We can view them under two categories. The first reflect a longing for a deeper relationship with God (blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn). The second group reveal the transformation of our lives as fruits of that relationship (blessed are the pure of heart, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted). The first group brings us into closer relationship with God which results in the transformation of our lives as described in the second group.

It is God who brings about the transformation, giving us the ability to see what needs to be changed; and the grace to accomplish it. He helps us to become the people He intends us to be.

It will not be an easy transformation, it will demand great sacrifice on our part. Jesus is a realist. He knows that those who hunger and thirst for what is right will be disappointed - those who are gentle will be exploited - those who are merciful cannot expect mercy to be shown them - and those who mourn often have very good reason to - and cannot expect comfort. Jesus knows that we will experience rejection as he did.

It is during these times that we can be most sure that we are living the life God is calling us to live.

The Beatitudes are stepping-stones on the way. We cannot live them fully without the grace of the Holy Spirit, so let us ask God for the favour to be men and women of The Beatitudes.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.