by Fr Francis Anthony
1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20
Theme: God is With Us
In today’s Gospel, we have this Sermon on the Plain recorded by Luke, and the same thing is recorded by Matthew under the Sermon on the Mount.
But what is very striking is the opening words of Jesus in this Sermon on the Plain and He was speaking to His disciples. There were large crowds of people from all over the place but He focused His attention on the disciples. He says:-
Happy are you who are poor
I do not think the disciples were financially poor. They were fishermen. They had their boats, they had their servants, they had their nets.
‘Happy are you who are poor’ then is reflected beautifully by the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm where it speaks of in Prophet Jeremiah. The poor will be seen this way:-
Curse on the man who puts his trust in man and relies on things of the flesh
So a poor person here is one who puts his trust in God. He does not go and say ‘What I have I’m able to stand on my own. I do not need God.’
And reflected beautifully in the Responsorial Psalm:-
Who follows not the counsel of the wicked
Yes, a poor man is not following the counsel of the wicked. A poor man does not linger in the way of sinners. He is depending on God and the second verse of the Responsorial Psalm says-
He is like a tree that is planted beside flowing waters
He is a man who knows he needs God in his life. Very appropriate readings and the general theme for today’s mass was “God is With Us.’
Let us face the realities of life. The life that we are facing, the anxieties we have and now it is the health, the problems the people are facing because of Covid. Let us have this. So when we pray, let us not go:- ‘O Lord, please bless me, help me.’ Are we able to turn to God and tell him:-
‘Lord, this is where I am. I need you. I do not trust in fellow beings. I do not rely on my own powers to be able to save me. I need you.’
And in the same way, let us turn to God to help us to face injustices that are running deep in our country today. But it is all camouflaged, a make-believe world that we are in a beautiful country. Yes the country is beautiful but let us see what are the leaders doing, where are they focusing their attention, where is justice.
We should be open to this and it is not to go and fight against the government. No. In this situation, how can I be a person who is able to reach out to another with justice, with love, with understanding? Am I able to?
It is only then we can say that God is with us. God came to transform and now that God in us wanting us to transform the society we are living in and let us have this happiness that are recorded here in the Responsorial Psalm:-
Happy are those when people hate you, drive you and abuse you, I am with you.
And with that strength of God, let us journey. And always remember the poor man is not those who are down and out financially but rather the one who puts his trust in God. And it is not saying ‘You take over’.
And working with God in our own limited way, we try to bring about a new situation.
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