Theme: DEPEND ON GOD TO BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD HERE ON EARTH
- Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13;
- Psalm 145 (146): 7-10. R/ Mt 5:3;
- 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
- Mathew 5:1-12
1. Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us to depend on God to build the kingdom of God here on earth, because ultimately it is God himself who builds his kingdom here on earth!
The gospel today tells us that the poor in spirit are blessed; the kingdom of God/ heaven belongs to them! The poor in spirit are the materially poor, more importantly, they are the spiritually poor, and most importantly, they are those who depend on God! Because it is only when we depend on God and put our faith in him and pray, that we receive his Holy Spirit to help us build the kingdom of God here on earth!
We cannot build the kingdom of God relying on our own strength! Besides, we will be committing the radical and root Sin of pride! Pride is the greatest Sin and the origin of all sins and humility is the greatest virtue and the origin of all virtues!
Our religious sisters, brothers, and priests take the vow of poverty, not because poverty is good in itself, nor because they are working for social justice, but because they want to depend on God. They want to put their faith in God. It is only when we put our faith in God and pray that we receive the Holy Spirit from God to help us build his kingdom here on earth! A kingdom of love, peace and joy; a kingdom of love, mercy and forgiveness; and a kingdom of justice, freedom and peace!
Of the eight beatitudes of Matthew’s gospel, the first beatitude is the most important: Blessed are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven/God! (Mt 5:3; SM) The first beatitude underlies all the other beatitudes of being merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the cause of right, etc. (Faley)
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the “humble”, that is, the “poor in spirit”, that is, those who depend on God, will do no wrong, will tell no lies and will not bear false witness on oath. And they are assured of the three basic human needs: nutrition, tranquility and security! (IBC) Thus we read in the first reading:
“In your midst I will leave a humble and lowly people, and those who are left in Israel will seek refuge in the name of the Lord. They will do no wrong, will tell no lies; and the perjured tongue will no longer be found in their mouths. But they will be able to graze and rest with no one to disturb them.” (Zp 3:12-13; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading which in turn follows the theme of the gospel. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm is taken from the first and most important beatitude of the gospel:
“How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3; SM)
The responsorial psalm is a psalm of “trust in God” (CSB), because it is God who gives justice to the oppressed, feeds the hungry, frees those in prison, lifts up the fallen, protects the stranger, helps the widow and the orphans, etc. In short, it is God himself who builds his kingdom of love, justice and peace. That is why we have to depend on God to build his kingdom here on earth. Thus we read in the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:
“It is the Lord who keeps faith forever, who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free.
It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the Lord, who protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan.” (Ps 145 (146): 6-9; SM)
4. Finally, the second reading tells us not to boast of ourselves, but to boast of God! To boast of ourselves is to commit the radical and root Sin of self-reliance! (CSB) The Original Sin of pride of our first parents! We have to boast of God, because it is God who made us righteous, it is God who made us holy, and it is God who saved us! Thus we read in the second reading:
“The human race has nothing to boast about to God, but you, God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.” (1 Co 1:30-31; SM)
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to depend on God and to pray. The Holy Spirit will help us to build the kingdom of God here on earth. And the Holy Spirit will help us not to boast of ourselves, but to boast of God!
Leave a Reply