Homily | The Beatitudes in Today's World

Homily for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Many of us see the former as people who cry over the death of a friend or family member, or even the loss of something very near and dear to us. But if you think about it, does this mean that those who have suffered such a loss that it brings you to tears are blessed? I would say no, Jesus stated that those who weep are mourning for other things. In Jesus’ case, he wept over the people who were more concerned with material goods and wealth that seeing that they had the messiah present to them. He wept because many of the people of his time thought they were self-sufficient and did not need God in their lives. He wept because he could see that the people were involved in their own destruction, doing things that were immoral and would hurt their soul. Unfortunately, not much has changed from Jesus’ time to our own.

My sisters and brothers, many Catholics as well as non-Catholics ask, “why are the bishops involved in secular affairs?” The answer is because they care; the answer is we should all care enough for the people to want to make our world a better place.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Friday was the annual March for Life. Our visiting seminarian Anthony Ibuaka was present as were the other seminarians from Raleigh. He can tell you that between the Mass for Life at the Basilica and the Verizon Center, there were thousands of priests and hundreds of bishops as well as over 100K people of faith. They marched; they made their voices heard because they know that abortion is wrong, that as a Disciple of Christ we need to respect life in all of its forms. 

Many will say that the Bishop’s Conference should not be involved in trying to over turn Roe v. Wade; yet Roe isn’t the only thing the Bishop’s are trying to change. Just this week they released two letters that in their own way were scathing, denouncing the President’s actions and executive orders. We as a Church make these statements because as a corporate entity and as individual citizens of this country, we love our country enough to use our platform to decry the inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable members of society. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted; they will be comforted by the righteous who do the right thing and raise their voices to stop immorality and the destruction of the human being.

The Jesuit James Martin, a writer and blogger noted that to be pro-life, (individuals) must be for protecting the unborn, they must be for protecting the refugees and undocumented immigrants, they must fight for an end to capital punishment, a form of vengeance, a form of punishment that affects a disproportionate amount of black men.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. 
There is another problem here that we face, an internal one, the issue of having two distinct lives; one for the Church and one for when we leave here each Sunday. My friends, we have only one life, not two lives. We are Catholic citizens. We are not Catholic here and citizens there. For our whole lives we have heard the Church saying that what takes place in our Sunday worship must be reflected in our daily lives. If we are going to speak to each other about the Love of God in church Sunday, then we need to be living the love of God in the way we treat other people during the week. It is wrong for a person to claim certain convictions in Church and others outside of Church. Indeed, the well worn out statement, "I am opposed to this personally but would never force someone to do or not do something just because I disagree," simply translates into "I do not have the courage to stand by my convictions." 

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because he could see the destruction the actions of the people were bringing on themselves. We, in the Church, weep for our country over actions of a presidential administration whose executive orders are leading this great country to a moral decay. Therefore, the righteous must speak out! The righteous must make a stand by stating unequivocally that these executive orders are immoral. It is wrong; it is immoral to ban certain people from our country just because they are Syrian; or from Yemen.

Blessed are we who mourn, for we shall be comforted.
We shall be comforted by the righteous who will speak up and loudly proclaim how wrong and immoral these actions are. I hate bringing politics into our Church but I have to ask you, be the righteous and as our Bishop’s Conference has asked, contact your Congress people and tell them you want them to stop this immoral and unethical behavior.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
The way to seek the Lord is to seek justice like he did, to seek righteousness like he did, to seek peace like he did. We have to seek for justice and righteousness and peace, even if we don’t get it. We need to do the right thing, even if we don’t get what’s right in return. We are blessed when we show mercy, we are blessed when we seek justice for those who cannot; our thirst for righteousness is quenched when we speak out against injustice and immorality. Our blessings come from knowing we are acting appropriately. Even if we suffer for our actions here, our rewards will be great in heaven. And if our reward is not in this world, then rest assured it will be in the next where we will all have a place in God’s Kingdom regardless of what country we may come from or which religion we practice. 

Tags: Blessedarethosewhomourn, Homily


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