Homily for the fourth Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 5:1-12


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 'Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.' "





Homily:


"Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 'Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' "


We have all often heard speak of the beatitudes and of the sermon that Jesus preached on the summit of a hill located near Capernaum, a hill which has rightly taken the name of the "Mount of Beatitudes". We are all in search of happiness, true happiness, that which will never end... For in us is the image of God, the desire to be like God, the desire to be happy as God is happy! We are ceaselessly in pursuit of happiness, and... it ceaselessly escapes us...


This is the tragic destiny of man on earth: when he believes he has finally attained true happiness, it escapes him... Why? The answer is simple: it is because of sin, that original sin which leads man to death... For, if man does manage to be happy on earth, death very soon catches up with him and his happiness escapes him. Is there a remedy for all this? Is there a solution that will allow us to escape this logic of death? Yes, of course there is! This solution, this remedy, is Jesus! For Jesus is the "resurrection" and the life (cf. Jn. 11:25)!


Through the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, but even more so through that of the Eucharist, Jesus is in us! This is our happiness, our true and eternal happiness! "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die." (Jn. 6:50) He who is nourished of the Eucharist is happy as God is happy, for he shares in the very life of God: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me." (Jn. 6:57)


" 'Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' "


What is it to "nourish oneself on the Eucharist"? I will answer, not by saying what it is not, but rather by saying what it is. To nourish oneself on the Eucharist is - in short - to communicate of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. More explicitly, to nourish oneself on the Eucharist is to offer oneself to God, in communion with the sole sacrifice pleasing to God: that of his Son who died on the Cross of Calvary. Just as, on the Cross, Jesus passed from death to life with the Father, we too, when we communicate of the Eucharist, we become alive to God and we can say: "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." (Lk. 23:46) On the Cross of Calvary, the soul of Jesus passed into the hands of the Father, and is forever risen. Similarly, when we communicate of the Eucharist today, we commit our soul into the hands of the Father, as if we were about to die, and, thus, we enter into the life of eternal happiness!


This is bliss! This is true happiness! "Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!" For, if we love but God and God alone; if we have the heart of one who, like the poor, has nothing, then the happiness of the life of God is ours! "Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth!" For the meek are feared by no one; and so they are welcome anywhere they go, and even if they have nothing, or almost nothing, they are always at home, anywhere in the world... "Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." For it is always necessary to undergo the Passion of the Lord in order to share in his Resurrection. "Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." For, at the end of time, when all will be resurrected, Christ will render justice by punishing the guilty and rewarding the righteous! "Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." For, in forgiving others, we act as Jesus did when he forgave his executioners, and thus we merit our eternal resurrection!


" 'Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.' "


Happy! Happy! It is true. However, trial awaits us - it is close by, at our door, in our everyday life... It is the husband or wife who is sometimes difficult to put with; it is teenagers who keep bad company; it is the daughter or son who gets divorced; it is the economic crisis that threatens one's job, etc. etc. We must face trials, it is true. But Jesus is also here! The Eucharist awaits us each Sunday, or perhaps even each day! There are trials we must face, but Jesus is here to help us overcome them! Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is here too! The Holy Spirit is here, leading us to the Father! All the Angels are here! All the elect of God are here! Amen!



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