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Homily for the Fourth Sunday Jan. 29-30, 2011

posted Jan 31, 2011, 4:45 AM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

Fourth Sunday of the Year

St. Mary's, Huntingburg

January 29-30, 2011



In the early history of the Church, as the faith spread throughout the Roman Empire, the first Christians generally came from the lower classes – from among the poor.

Maybe it was the poor who could identify with a Savior who suffered and ate with outcasts and rubbed elbows with sinners.

In any case, St. Paul reminds the Christians in the city of Corinth of this reality in today's first reading:

"Consider your calling ..."

Consider the fact that, when it came time for God to give the precious gift of faith, to give access to salvation in Jesus, to give a vision of truth available only in Jesus Christ ... he didn't give it to the powerful, the wealthy, the influential ...

... He gave it to the poor, to the lowly, to the meek ... in short, to ordinary people.


In fact, that's God's odd way of acting throughout the Bible.

You'd think that God would pick the best, the brightest, the most powerful and influential ... but he doesn't.

No, God chooses the small ones, the unlikely ones, the weak ones.

He chose insignificant little Israel to be his chosen people ... rather than the powerful empires all around them.

He chose a shepherd boy David to be greatest king of Israel ... skipping over his seven strapping older brothers ...

In fact, God has a habit of choosing the younger brothers ... and the unlikeliest prophets ...

When it came time to send his Son into the world, He chose as mother, a humble virgin ... not an empress, a queen, a woman of note in the world.

And when Jesus picked his Apostles, he did so ... not from the high priests, the nobles, the wealthy ... but fishermen and tax collectors ... and sinners.
And on and on and on ... God picking the unlikely to bless with his favor.


It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

But there's a wisdom to God's madness ... a purpose ... a reason:

God chooses the weak  ...  to show that the power is his.

God chooses the lowly ... to show that the authority is his.

He chooses the poor ... to show that the good will come from his action ... and not from human wealth or know how or shrewdness.

God chooses the unlikely  .... to show that ...

He's in charge

He's in control.

It's God who is "calling the shots."


At first, it sounds like bad news:

"Oh, no, someone other than me is in charge ...

Someone else is in control ...

Someone else is calling the shots.

Oh, no!"

But ... if the one in charge knows all things ....

... and if he loves all things ...

... and cherishes all things ...

Why then, it is good news!

It is mighty good news!


God is in charge ... so I don't have to be ... I can just follow his ways ... I can place my worries in his hands ... Hallelujah!


And so, we come to the Beatitudes in today's Gospel:

Blessed are the poor ... blessed are those who mourn ... blessed are the meek ... those who hunger and thirst ... the merciful ...

Now ... "blessed" here could also be translated "happy" ... "lucky" ... "fortunate" ...

And so, Jesus is saying ...

Happy are the lowly ones ... lucky the "down-and-out" ...  fortunate the weak ones ...

Blessed ... not because they are down ... but because they have reached the point where they know that they have to depend on someone else ... they have to hope to someone else is in charge.

They aren't like the  high and the mighty ... the successful in the eyes of this world ... those who supposedly "have it all" ... those who think that they're really calling the shots in their own lives ... when they aren't.

The lowly ones are the ones who can truly see the reality ... the truth ... that's it's God who is in charge ...

and so, they know that they must call out to him ... and depend on him ... and cling to him ... worship him ... and trust in him.


Brothers and sisters, consider your calling.

Consider who it is who has called us ...

Consider who is really in charge ...

And surrender your life to him.