Can you imagine a Fortune 500 Company making a list of qualities for a CEO and using words like meek? Peacemaker? Poor in Spirit? I cannot imagine that would happen. But the cost of ignoring the Beatitudes is higher than we might think. When we follow them, we are indeed blessed.
There is a tendency in our country today to refute anything we disagree with by mocking the argument. We express the opinion we do not hold by referring to the most ridiculous version of it. That is what the Sadducees did in today’s gospel. Questioning to arrive at truth is the goal of true seeking.
I played a dangerous game in high school. I compared my individual talents to others, and I found myself lacking. That is because for each individual talent I had, there was always another person who was better. Rather than being able to see the many blessings God gave me, I focused on what I did not have. In today’s first reading, the apostle Paul shows how being baptized helps each of us to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But, then, yesterday, Pope Francis showed what spiritual leadership looks like. Reminding us that Jesus is close to us.
“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost.
Today’s homily is given by Father Scott O’Brien, the student master for St. Dominic Priory in Saint Louis, Missouri.. I was a novice when the news first broke about the spread of HIV/AIDS; that was 35 years ago now. Some things were known about it at the time, like how it might be contracted but little else.
I would have been just like the Israelites in the first reading. Grumbling. Complaining. Feeling pity for myself. Blaming God. Blaming Moses. I would have been no fun at all. Why could I deal with my adversity like the Samaritan woman at the well? She gets to know Jesus and becomes an evangelist. He lets her know he loves her and has something much better than simply a bucket of water. As we handle the adversity of the Coronavirus, will we grumble, or will we evangelize?
These days it can be easy to think there is no hope. There are problems all around us. How do we maintain a sense of hope in the midst of a crisis? The simple answer is provided today by Jeremiah. Hope comes from seeking to do the will of God in every way we can. Hope awaits when you stay close to God.
Jesus spends time with those people society shuns. Tax collectors, those known as sinners, lepers. His example provides a question: Who do we spend our time with?
There is so much packed into the account of the Transfiguration I could probably have spoken 30 or 40 minutes this morning. (Don’t worry, I did not.) What is true is that the Transfiguration tells us all we need to know about Jesus. It helps us to cope with suffering and pain. It teaches us about the importance of prayer. Listen carefully to Jesus, and you will see more clearly the importance of this meeting of heaven and earth.