Blessings and the Beatitudes
By Fr Erl Dylan Tabaco, SSC
Homily, January 29, 2023- Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
The word blessing reminds us that everything that we enjoy on earth is God´s gift to us. Nature reflects the generosity of God who continuously creates so we could contemplate His deep love for us. We consider all the moments that we spend time together with our family, friends, and companions on our journey as manifestations of how much we are blessed. How about during times of persecution, pain, and life´s adversity? Could we still say that they are God´s blessings? Could we still claim that God is still with us? If we firmly believe that God accompanies us in all moments of our lives then whatever untoward circumstances that we go through as a consequence of our fidelity to God´s mission can become a channel of God´s benevolence. Our concept of blessing will be transformed. It will no longer be based on material things or the countless gifts that we received. Instead, it will be rooted in the fact that God is love, and because of His great love for all of us, He knows what is best for us. Like Paul, we will be able to say with conviction that “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose.
The beatitudes or Jesus’ Sermon at the Mount gives us a summary on how to live as Christians. They may seem disturbing because blessedness is associated with suffering, poverty, grief, thirst, and hunger. Everyone wants to have a comfortable life, don’t we? But difficulties and adversities mold us to be strong and better Christians. They are a form of blessing one way or another.
Image from Google
Jesus’ Sermon at the Mount is an invitation for all of us to be grounded by believing that God is always present even in times of difficulties. Think of your family, friends, community, work, studies, or food on the table. Think of your attitudes, values, dreams, desires, and aspirations. Do they energize you and allow you to see the goodness of life? How about your difficulties, grief, loneliness, sufferings, questions about life in general? Do these make you restless and feel that God has abandoned you? Or do you see them as an avenue for growth?
Blessings are more than material possessions because God can never be outdone in generosity. We may suffer persecution, injustice, pain, and difficulties in doing God’s Will but this is not the end. Whatever sufferings we have for the sake of righteousness has a redeeming power. That’s how God´s love works in our lives. The saints whom we are venerating every time we celebrate their feasts are also our inspiration. Their words and deeds can awaken in us our common calling which is to follow the Lord.
Every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are reminded that Jesus’s offering of His Body and Blood is already a foretaste of what the heavenly banquet is all about. As the saints are interceding in our prayers, we are also praying for our departed brothers and sisters.
May the blessings of our loving God convince us that we are all together as God´s children blessed with His breath which fosters communion, love, and peace. Amen!
Father Erl with fellow Columban Missionaries