SEPTEMBER 9, 2009- 1 COR 7:25-31; LUKE 6: 20-26

BLESSED ARE YOU POOR; THE REIGN OF GOD IS YOURS.The two readings of todayís liturgy are, when adopted as norms for daily life, effectively revolutionary. They are calculated to change our values and the lifestyle we create.BLESSED ARE YOU POOR; THE REIGN OF GOD IS YOURS. WOE TO YOU RICH, FOR YOUR CONSOLATION IS NOW. Saint Paul, in the Spirit understood the radical implications of Jesusí words and does not hesitate to state the matter boldly: You have died! And your life is hidden now with Christ in God. When Christ our life appears, you shall then appear with him in glory. As we hear this message proclaimed today, we are invited to examine our hearts and our life in order to discern better what these teachings require from us in response to the point they inculcate.

 

The early followers of Christ, already in apostolic times, gave much thought to our Lordís words as they sought to live by them in light of Jesusí life as well as his death and resurrection. The conclusion that Saint Paul arrived at was to the effect that following Christ entailed a kind of death to this world, and a participation in the Spirit that amounts to a higher, nobler, hidden life that is more Christís life in us than the life we know from nature: your life is hidden now with Christ in God, he writes to the Colossians. Not always will it remain hidden, however. If we live in fidelity to this hidden life in our present world, he adds that When Christ our life appears, you shall then appear with him in glory. Convinced of this truth, Paul had earlier written that, as belonging to Christ, for the present we rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12). In attempting to live by the hope that our Lord offers us through his passion and death, the more dedicated fathers came to recognize the need for continual prayer, as Paul himself had done before them. His experience led him to this conviction that we need to pray always. So to live as to desire in all we do and think to serve God in fidelity to his will is to live by hope. God himself then becomes our lifeís meaning and purpose. Maintaining awareness of this orientation in all our ways and doings is to be dead to this world; it is to pray always not only with our minds but with our whole being. He urged the converts at Thessalonica to make prayer their constant practice. Such prayer as consists in union with Godís will leads one to rejoice in hope, a hope that is a solid conviction that we are to be with God for all eternity. Our basis for such confidence is Godís fidelity, not any belief in our own powers of perseverance.

 

If Jesus pronounced a blessing on the poor in spirit, it is because this poverty arises from the knowledge of Godís utter holiness and our unworthiness. At the same time, our acceptance of Jesusí words gives assurance that he is merciful and that his fidelity to the Father, even unto death, has reconciled us with the all-holy One who is love itself. Continual prayer is the active, conscious acceptance of the gift of Godís life through the Son he gives to those who put their trust in him. In this Eucharist we receive a very particular and concrete assurance of this divine mercy and love Our communion is an assurance that enables is to live, rejoicing in hope, knowing that our poverty calls upon the One who so loves us that he gave up to death his beloved son that we might possess eternal life through him.&††


Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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