Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2023
Whenever I hear this Sunday’s Gospel–the Beatitudes–I’m reminded of an experience I had many years ago. A young couple that I knew suffered the loss of their first child. They asked me to help them plan the funeral Mass. As we prayed in sadness and grief, my friends recalled that at their wedding, they had chosen this same reading from Matthew: the Beatitudes. “When we were married,” they reminded me, “we wanted to proclaim to the world that we were entering into a sacrament that brought us into union with God.” The Beatitudes expressed for them the ideals and hopes they had as Christian partners in marriage.
With the death of their child they realized that their commitment had taken on a much more profound meaning. They were still witnessing to their relationship with God, but now that relationship was understood in a much deeper, much richer way. God stood with them in their grief and gave them strength to bear their loss. And so they chose the Beatitudes for the funeral Mass.
Jesus proclaims that our suffering, our poverty, our grieving can make us “blessed.” Our search for justice, our acts of mercy and peacemaking, our humility, make us “blessed.” Let’s rejoice this weekend to hear the Lord say, “Blessed are you…rejoice and be glad!”