Sr. Dorothy Stang a Notre Dame de Namur sister was stationed in the Amazon helping the poor people of that region to win their government-granted rights over the landowners. Well, she knew she would become unpopular with the landowners for her stand on this issue and probably would pay big for what she was doing but she knew she had to defend those who couldn’t defend themselves. On February 12, 2005, as she was walking to a small village, she was stopped by those that hated her. With her bible in hand she opened it up and began reading the beatitudes to her murderers.
The Gospel this morning calls us to not sit around but calls us to action. Calling us to repentance, following Jesus, by proclaiming the gospel not just by word but by good and just deeds, by healing the unfortunate. We see this in the life of Sr. Dorothy. As I mentioned last week in my homily we must have an encounter with Jesus. What do we see Jesus doing in the first of part of today’s Gospel? He “went up the mountain,” Jesus knew he needed this time alone with God the Father. We are also called to know God, to do our “mountain experience” of just being with God, away from our busy schedules.
It not uncommon as people meet us for the first time to reveal what is our call in life. Such as I’m a doctor, lawyer, teacher, assembly line worker, priest and the list goes on. What we do in life is important but the thing that should and is most important is that we are blessed by God. Jesus saw the crowds that he spoke to in a different light than others had. He saw them and he saw the poor in spirit, the mournful, the meek all as blessed. This is our deepest identity that we are a people that God has freely, generously, and readily blessed. Any action that we might do is being motivated by being blessed. We can rejoice and are glad because we are truly blessed and that is why the kingdom of heaven can be ours.
Now as we heard about Sr. Dorothy we must realize that only a few of us will be called to such an extraordinary self-sacrifice as Sr. Dorothy. We are all called by Christ to live the blessedness that God has given us. Our challenge for us is to make those ordinary things of everyday life and by our own self-giving for the good of others, make them extraordinary. By this, is when the kingdom of God is at hand.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church on beatitude is says, “It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love.”
Millions of Americans (will be/ are watching) the Super Bowl this evening. Of course this Super Bowl means more to New Englanders since our team is in the big game and all are waiting to see if they will win but with what we heard from the CCC in all reality is if they do win then the celebrations and happiness will only be temporary because “true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement...but in God alone.” We have to realize my dear my brothers and sisters that through the difficult times in our lives it will not be the things that surround us or the awards that we have won that truly make us blessed but that we are truly blessed by God and hopefully as I mentioned earlier that our ordinary actions will become extraordinary in a world that needs to feel the blessings of God.
So my brothers and sisters as we approach the days of Lent and as we slow down our pace and enter into this season which prepares us for the Paschal mystery; let us truly make it a time with God, in order for us to “go to the mountain” so that we can strengthen our relationship with the Lord and as we heard in the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, “whoever boasts should boast in the Lord.”