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January 29, 2023 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A, Yr. I)

Community Word: The Father’s love makes us joint heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Theme: We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ when we live in God’s righteousness and serve the needy.
Promise: “The Lord keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.” (Ps 146:6-7)
The Sermon on the Mount on the eight beatitudes is the heart of the message that Jesus came to bring and the summary of all Christian doctrines of the gospel that Jesus Christ teaches. The beatitudes express the qualities that Jesus is looking for in the hearts of His followers. He shows us the way to feel and experience the joy and freedom in God’s presence through specific blessings, despite what seems to be miserable, depressing and lowly. Jesus enumerates the benefits for those who follow God’s will and they are being sanctified.
The theme for this week – We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ when we live in God’s righteousness and serve the needy, encourages us to be hopeful with absolute faith to bring to life the promises of the beatitudes. Each beatitude begins with the word “blessed” or “happy.” Yet, those whom Jesus calls to be such – the poor, the mourners, the meek or lowly, those deprived of justice, persecuted and abused, can hardly be described as happy or blessed. But, Jesus assures us that even those undergoing such situations will merit greatly the grace and reward of our Heavenly Father.
The beatitudes are a real gift to us. In our chaotic world today, our hearts long for something that will hold us together and give us that elusive peace we are searching for. Jesus tells us that we can bless the world with our faith. The beatitudes point to something deeper and lasting because they reveal the very picture of Christ. He exemplifies the poor, the merciful, the meek, the persecuted, the one insulted and rejected by the world. If we are sensitive listeners of Jesus, we might realize that He speaks of the beatitudes, not just ideas to follow, but as real possibilities to attain – to be comforted, to be satisfied, to receive mercy, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom of heaven, and finally to see God.
The beatitudes tell us that blessedness is also a task. They point us to our right response to God’s gift of salvation. The present disheartening realities can become different if we live by the beatitudes – peace in our homes and in the world if we have a merciful and clean heart. The things that God considers as truly worthy of praise are opposite of what man thinks. But, true honor and esteem are determined and bestowed by God for all to see. The beatitudes speak of inner dispositions which are reflected outwardly. God alone guarantees true happiness. But God is not present in the hearts that are occupied with worldly gods of wealth, power and pleasure. Through the beatitudes we know what works in the kingdom of God, what spiritual power we possess can bring out our potentials, and what matters in our lives that will give hope towards attaining eternal reward in heaven.
Beyond any doubt, Jesus, the mighty Son of God, assures us that those who are merciful will receive mercy, that even though we are insulted and despised, a great reward awaits us. We are blessed even as we suffer because we know that we are and will be vindicated by the justice of God, and Christ will resolve all things at the end time. With firm determination, let us hold on to this week’s promise: “The Lord keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.” (Ps 146:6-7)
Heavenly Father, purify our hearts so that we may see You at work in every person and every situation. Sanctify our souls that we may see others in the light of Your mercy and compassion. Teach us to be gentle of hearts so that those who are poor, depressed, and oppressed will receive justice and peace. Grant us the grace to merit the blessings of Your beatitudes so that at the end of our earthly journey we will see You face to face. All for your namesake. Amen.
Reflection Guide Questions:

  1. Which of the 8 beatitudes do you feel you should give more emphasis in your faith journey?
  2. What steps can you possibly take so that others may be blessed in the light of Jesus’ teaching about the disposition of our hearts and our relationship with those who are least in our society today?
    This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
    January 29, 2023 (Sun) – Zep 2:3; 3:12-13/Ps 146:6-10/1Cor 1:26-31/Mt 5:1-12
    January 30, 2023 (Mon) – Heb 11:32-40/Ps 31:20-24/Mk 5:1-20
    January 31, 2023 (Tue) – Heb 12:1-4/Ps 22:26-28, 30, 31-32/Mk 5:21-43
    February 1, 2023 (Wed) – Heb 12:4-7, 11-15/Ps103:1, 2, 13, 14, 17, 18/Mk 6:1-6
    February 2, 2023 (Thu) – Mal 3:1-4/Ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10/Heb 2:14-18/Lk 2:22-40
    February 3, 2023 (Fri) – Heb 13:1-8/Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8, 9/Mk 6:14-29
    February 4, 2023 (Sat) – Heb 13:15-17, 20, 21/Ps 23:1-9/Mk 6:30-34
    “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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