Saturday, February 13, 2010

SIXTH Sunday, C: "Blessed are the poor"

Jeremiah 17. 5-8; Psalm 1. 1-4, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; St. Luke 6. 17, 20-26

Some refuse to believe in God saying that the evil in the world, including the physical evils of hunger and thirst, would not be permitted by a good God or at least would be brought to an end by Him.

The mystery of evil and in particular the senseless suffering of the poor, the rejected, the excluded, and the persecuted, must be understood within the whole context of God's plan, which is for our happiness. God does offer the eternal communion of His life and love to all. But this promise cannot be consummated in this world which began at a point in time and someday will end. As Mary told Bernadette at Lourdes,"I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next."

The happiness of the new heavens and the new earth which God will reveal at the end of the world is offered to all through Jesus Christ our Lord. No man or woman is excluded from the redeeming embrace of God's love. For this reason the Christian message is truly good news for all, including the poor and downtrodden. But this truth does not dispense anyone, and in particular Christians, from the demands of charity and justice for the relief and care of the poor here and now. We are commanded not simply to tolerate or accommodate the poor, not simply to feed and clothe them. Rather we are commanded to love them as we love ourselves.

"The Church's love for the part of her constant tradition." This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor. (CA 57; cf. Lk 6: 20-22, Mt 8: 20; Mk 12:41-44) Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to "be able to give to those in need." (Eph 4:28) It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty. (Cf CA 57) (CCC 2444)

Hunger, thirst, nakedness and homelessness are physical evils and sources of suffering. But these things are not the worst conditions that the human person can experience. The lack of love manifested by cultural and religious poverty, as Mother Teresa taught, is the greatest poverty today: "It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." A profound poverty of the heart underlies the many attacks against innocent, defenseless human life today in abortion, partial-birth infanticide, embryonic stem-call research and contraception.

The greatest poverty afflicting the human race today is the "cult of death" which, through abortion and abortifacient contraception, denies a child the right to live, laugh and love. Those who promote the "cult of death" suffer a most insidious poverty, a silent killer, which eclipses that love for even the smallest and weakest of human persons without which no one can enter into eternal joy.

Defenders of human life rejoice, on the other hand, in the promise of the Lord for those who feed, clothe, shelter and otherwise defend the lives of the "least of these little ones": "Enter into the joy of your Lord. Enter into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(See also nos. 2546, 2547 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

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