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God Chose the Weak of the World

First Reading: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (Mt 5:3) Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
“Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12A

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

NAB

Do you get stuck perfectionism and negativity? I do. What would happen if we allowed one—just one—Beatitude to challenge our perfectionism today?

I love Saint Paul. It’s not just because I am his spiritual daughter, but also because he is so real. His experience of growing in humility and faith illustrates our challenging readings this Sunday.

Saint Paul once described a long, personal struggle as his “thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me.” It annoyed him so much that he begged the Lord three times to remove it. And if you know Saint Paul even a little, you know he is one of those people who can’t help but throw himself headlong into anything he says and does. So, I am sure the Lord heard an earful. The Lord eventually offered Saint Paul one of the most stunning responses to prayer ever recorded, “My grace is enough for you for power is made perfect in weakness.” That’s it. Take it to the bank. The bedrock of our lives of faith. The best way you and I can test our walk of discipleship. Do I admit my weakness before God? This bold, humility of heart is at the foundation of our readings today and especially Beatitudes the Lord proclaims. He blesses specific attitudes of the heart with heavenly joy: poverty of spirit, meekness, mourning, thirst for holiness.

The Beatitudes describe all of us. They illumine our experience as disciples.

Although loving and following God doesn’t usually make all my problems melt away, something miraculous does happen. The Holy Spirit transforms my heart. The Spirit offers Heaven’s perspective wherein darkness and death, in all forms, are just “thorns in the flesh.” This is perspective comes with the joy only God can give and no one can take away. We want live in the freedom of this truth and not as slaves of perfectionism and negativity. God desires to set us free by the truth of His love. God desires to illumine our day and make ordinary moments shimmer with the radiance of His never-failing love. But He waits for permission.

Sisters, let’s prayerfully wrap ourselves, our family, our friends in His truth today. If this is too abstract, let’s ask Our Blessed Mother to wrap her mantle around us. Same thing.

Let’s pray for each other with humility and faith.

Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.

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