Sunday Scriptures

Using the Beatitudes in Our Troubled Times

By Father Alonzo Cox

A few weeks after my installation as Pastor, I received an anonymous gift from a parishioner. My secretary found a package beautifully wrapped with an envelope taped to it with my name on it.

I opened the envelope first, which had a card in it. The card simply said, congratulations on your installation as our new Pastor. When I unwrapped the package, there was a beautiful hand painted image with the Beatitudes written in calligraphy.

I still have no idea of who gifted me this beautiful picture, but I decided to hang it in my study room here in the rectory.

Recently I found myself reflecting on the very first Beatitude, “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”

During these difficult times, most especially as we continue to navigate through the unknown of this pandemic, many of our brothers and sisters have experienced significant loss.

Whether it is the loss of employment, housing or financial stability, we see that poverty continues to increase in our society. The Lord reminds us today that nothing will ever deter us from spending eternity in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus gives us the Beatitudes so that we might be able to trust in God more deeply. It would be safe to say that many of us have gone through bouts of suffering and pain, whether they be spiritual or physical.

Yet, the Lord delivers the Beatitudes as signs of trusting that God will bring us comfort and peace through these trials and tribulations. Jesus reminds us that although we may experience these trials, we are indeed blessed.

Each time we wake up and can see the light of another day is a blessing from God. Each time we can gather around the table of the Lord in the Eucharist is a blessing.

The Beatitudes show us that ultimately, we will rejoice. We will rejoice one day before the presence of God in his Kingdom where there will be no division, strife, war or famine.

Ultimately, we as disciples of Jesus are called to place our trust in him. Our first reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah tells us, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who’s hope is the Lord.”

We must continue to live in hope, knowing that the Lord will deliver us from all the trials and suffering that we may be going through.

We must continue to care for one another and to comfort each other in times of sadness, grief and sorrow. The Lord calls each of us to share our resources with the poor, to live lives of charity and speak words of peace. The woes Jesus speaks to us today can be a real examination of conscience on how we truly look at our brothers and sisters.

As we journey with the Lord during these times of pandemic, we must never forget how blessed we are to be disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ.

We must never lose sight of the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us and that he will continue to bestow upon us.

We pray that by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, all of us will be able to rejoice and be glad, for the Kingdom of God is ours.

Readings for Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 17:5-8

1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20

Luke 6:17, 20-26

Father Cox is the pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant and coordinator for the vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns for the Diocese of Brooklyn.