January 29, 2017
by Tomora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 70

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalms 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
1 Corintians 1:26-31
Matthew 5:1-12a

Praying Ordinary Time

At the very beginning of today’s readings we are told to seek the Lord. And then, conveniently, we are told how to do that. Both readings, the psalm, and the Gospel all come together to give a definition of how to seek the Lord. We seek the Lord by seeking justice and righteousness, by seeking peace, by seeking humility.

The beatitudes can seem sort of oxymoronic. How will the meek lead? Leadership usually comes to the bold. We see injustice around us every day. How are those who hunger for justice satisfied? Where is the comfort for the mourning? I know I continue to mourn. In a perfect world, people would treat each other decently. A perfect world would be at peace, and justice would prevail. Unfortunately, this world is not perfect. God chose the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, but not everyone understands that. Jesus was born poor, went against the standard norms of the time and the government. Did not seem to have the stuff to be a leader, but he was the greatest leader. And still people did not and do not understand him and his message.

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. Unfortunately, even he did not get justice and righteousness and peace here on earth. He took the form of the lowly to shame the higher-ups, but they didn’t understand. Many still don’t understand.

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 who show mercy, who seek for justice, who are humble and helpful. 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 recompense is not in this imperfect world, it will be in the next perfect one.

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