Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

He has chosen the weak.

Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

Today, and over the next Sundays, we will read the passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew which is designated as the Sermon on the Mount: three chapters which contain a real revolution in the way of thinking; the greatest one, because it shifts the perspective from the purely natural and earthly field to the supernatural one. In other words, it invites us to look at things and facts with the eyes of God, to evaluate them according to His criteria.

This is evident already in the initial passage of the Sermon, the one that we will read today, the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12). Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who hunger for justice, the non-violent people, those who show mercy, the pure in heart, the persecuted, those who work to bring peace … In short, the opposite of the people who are arrogant, violent, immoral and belligerent of which the world is full, as well as the chronicles attest. For many people these ones, all intent on asserting themselves and their own interests, are considered as models for others to follow; the former are considered fools, deluded, defeatist: in short, weak. Here, more than ever, faith is at stake; Jesus’ invitation to go upstream entails faith, that is we must trust Him, who knows better than us what is best for us.

In this regard, today we can find in the second reading a close consonance with the gospel. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians (1:26-31): “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him..” In other words, God to carry out His plan of salvation for mankind, has chosen the weak, the despised, those who are unimportant.

In her diary, Luisa often wondered why Jesus among all people perhaps with a greater holiness, chose her who is little and a bit “naughty”. And then Jesus before her objection responds by giving a teaching that reflects the characteristics of those who live the Beatitudes of the Gospel.

Jesus chose Luisa because she is the littlest and most insignificant creature that exists on earth. The little ones let one do with them whatever he wants. They do not walk by themselves, but let themselves be guided; even more, they are afraid to place one foot on their own. If they receive gifts, feeling incapable of keeping them, they place them on the lap of their mother.

The little ones are stripped of everything, nor do they care about whether they are rich or poor; they are concerned with nothing. How beautiful the tender age is, full of grace, of beauty and of freshness. Therefore, the greater is the work God wants to do in a soul, the littler He chooses her. He likes it so much that He preserves these souls in the littleness of the nothingness from which they came. He lets nothing of their own enter into them, so as not to let them lose their littleness, and therefore preserve the divine freshness and beauty from which they came.

Badness cannot enter the true little ones. Do you know when evil, when growth begins to enter? When one’s own will begins to enter. As it enters, the creature begins to fill herself and to live of herself; the All goes out of the littleness of the creature, and it seems to her that her littleness becomes greater – but, greatness to be cried over. Since God does not live completely in her, she moves away from her beginning, dishonors her origin, loses the light, the beauty, the sanctity, the freshness of her Creator. She seems to grow before men, but before God she decreases! She may even become great, but she will never be His beloved little one – one whom, taken by love for her, He fills with Himself, that she may remain as God created her, and He makes of her the greatest, whom no one will be able to equal.

Jesus did so also with His Celestial Mother. Among all generations, She is the littlest, because Her will never entered into Her as acting, but always The Eternal Will; and this not only kept Her little, beautiful, fresh, but made Her the greatest of all. And only because of Her littleness was She lifted up to the height of Mother of the One who formed Her.

So, all the good of man is in doing God’s Will; all the evil is in doing his own. Therefore, in order to come to redeem man, Jesus chose Mary as His Mother because She was little, and He used Her as channel in order to let all the goods and fruits of Redemption descend upon mankind. Then He chose Luisa: “What? Have you not understood who she is? It is you, my little one. I have told you many times that you are the little one, and this is why I love you.” And finally, He chooses each of us!
We can understand why God sent out His messages to the modern world by using often people who were unknown when they were alive.  (for example, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Luisa Piccarreta), or poor people (Teresa of Calcutta), and even unsuspecting children (as at Lourdes and Fatima).

Upon closer look, however, this divine style began with the Savior Himself, who in the eyes of the world ended His life on the cross, that is, in the most disgraceful and disastrous way: the powerful and “astute” men  of the time believed they got rid of the killjoy, and instead His work has spread throughout the world.

And you can see this also in His followers: when their works were based on human resources they were unsuccessful, and when they faced the world with the poor weapons of the word and example, trusting only in God, their apparent defeat or insignificance led a countless number of men to faith.

An example is offered by martyrs, missionaries and many religious and lay people that in the family or in small remotest communities were and are humble, weak and often unknown instruments in God’s hands.

They have agreed to be so, not basing their lives on the human resources of wealth, power or culture, but  having them, they made use of them and in any case of the resources that every man has (intelligence, energy physical, time and so on). They used them according to the will of God, acknowledging that they got them from Him: for this, the apostle says, no one can boast.

Continuing on, Paul reminds the Corinthians that God has given His Son to us: and He is the true wisdom for us, He makes us pleasing to the Father, He gives us the chance to live for Him and frees us from evil; Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

 

don Marco

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