Message: Consider the hidden wisdom of the Beatitudes: Whatever difficulties, trials and suffering you are facing, life up Jesus and he will lift you up.
It is good to be back with you after my time in Peru. I am grateful to Fr. Valencia, Deacon Gene, Sister Barbara and all of you for making this pilgrimage possible. I did take your prayers and intentions with me especially at the tombs of the great Peruvian saints - Rose of Lima and Martin de Porres.
While in Peru I reflected on the readings for the five Sundays between now and the beginning of Lent. A common theme jumped out: Hidden Wisdom. We see it particularly in St. Paul and the Gospels.
Let me begin with a clarification: Even though God gives us a hidden wisdom we do not look down on ordinary wisdom. The Second Vatican Council teaches that we can benefit from the wisdom of Confucius, the Buddha, Islam and even native religions. For example the Inca religion had these three basic precepts: ama sua, ama llulla, ama quella (donít steal, donít lie, donít be lazy). If we put those three precepts into practice it would bring blessings of prosperity and happiness.
We treasure inherited wisdom not only because it makes our lives better but because ultimately it comes from God. We see this wisdom in Old Testament books like Proverbs, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon. You can find similar wisdom in Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare and other great works of literature. Today unfortunately we find ourselves cut off from this great inheritance. About the best we seem to do are pithy sayings that find their way onto Facebook! Still, letīs not look down on wisdom wherever it come from. We need it more than ever.
Along with ordinary wisdom, we have something more: hidden wisdom. Through Jesus we receive hidden wisdom. St. Paul reminds us that few of us are intellectuals or high born or powerful. God chooses weak common folk, the ones the world looks down on. He joins us to his Son Jesus and from Christ we receive a hidden wisdom.
We see that hidden wisdom in today's Gospel - the Beatitudes. We've heard them so often that they tend to have a soothing quality but really they should jar us. Jesus describes things that people naturally avoid: poverty, bankruptcy, loss of loved ones, sexual abstinence, insults, getting put down with no way of getting back, becoming a laughing stock. When these things happen to you, says Jesus, count yourself blessed. Why this is so we will see more in the coming weeks.
During Advent and Christmas time, many of you joined me in learning from Matthew Kelly about how we resist happiness. His book has power because it gets us in touch with the hidden wisdom of Jesus. Matthew Kelly shows how God uses trials and sufferings - the things Jesus describes in the Beatitudes - God uses them to help us become the best versions of ourselves.
We will see more next week when Jesus tells us to become salt and light - and St. Paul explains why he decided to preach nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.
For today I ask you to consider the hidden wisdom of the Beatitudes: Whatever difficulties, trials and suffering you are facing, life up Jesus and he will lift you up. Amen.
From Archives (Fourth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Bishop Bob Barron's Homilies
Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
Review of Roe