LOL: Love Out Loud 4th Sunday in ordinary time

GOD'S WORD TODAY - Jonjee C. Sumpaico, S.J. () - January 30, 2011 - 12:00am

I borrow the title of this article from my former pupils at the Sacred Heart School-Jesuit (Ateneo de Cebu) who used it as the name of their Christmas outreach program for indigent children. It has been years since I’ve met the group. And I am continually impressed by their decision to regularly take time out of their usual work and share their presence with others. What I particularly find interesting is that they have come to understand more deeply Jesus’ teaching not in the confines of school, but rather, in the daily grind of life.

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday talks about the beatitudes — the blessings that are given to those who follow the perspective presented by Jesus Christ. It is a choice that is given to people who search for meaning. It is a definite lifestyle offered to people who believe that life is indeed worth living. The beatitudes do reveal an understanding on how a person is to relate to others in one’s everyday life - in one’s journey of faith.

Scripture scholars often mention that if one finds a word constantly repeated in sacred texts, attention ought to be given it. And for this Sunday, the repeated word is “blessed.” To be blessed means that one is favored by God.

As we read about Jesus preaching the beatitudes, we realize that he LOVES OUT LOUD. He wishes his blessings on the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for what is right, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for the sake of right-eousness. Jesus favors these people because those who practice the beatitudes are those who learn to tran-scend their personal interests and promote the common good. As such, they bring about God’s kingdom here on earth.

It has been repeated over and over again that as blessings are given TO us, blessings are also given THROUGH us. As we share our blessings, we LOVE OUT LOUD. When we receive blessings, it can mean that others have wished God’s favor upon us. Likewise, when we share our blessings, when we love out loud, we wish God’s favor on others. Thus in the very lives we lead, we see compassion and mercy at work. We give witness to the reign of God present here and now. And as the sharing of blessings continues, more and more people are satisfied and comforted. Indeed this is the source of our hope.

Last week, the Philippine Church celebrated the 20th year anniversary of its Second Plenary Council (PCP-II) held in 1991 when Church leaders, both clergy and lay, met and prayed over the future directions of the Church. The vision they crafted then of becoming a Church of the poor is clearly founded on Christ’s beatitudes. They declare:

 “Christ bids this community to be a Church of the poor, a Church where the poor, equal to all others in Christian dignity, are not only evangelized but become evangelizers themselves; a Church where no one is so poor as to have nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive. The ideal of this Church of the Poor remains the first Jerusalem community, where the faithful were `united, heart and soul’ and where no one was in want because everyone shared out of love.”

Finally, some commentators further point out that Christ’s beatitudes means something even deeper. It transforms people. It invites people to live and respond in their own particular places and times, in the very here and now. These are attitudes for those who live in the present moment. The beatitudes are the BE-ATTITUDES.

God meets us with his presence. He does not introduce himself as “I was,” or “I will be.” He assures us with the words, “I AM.”

I remember my former students, who are now my present friends. I wish them God’s blessings as they continue to respond to the movement of God’s Spirit in their lives. To them and to the many of us who strive and struggle to live out Christ’s beatitudes by reaching out to the less fortunate especially the least in God’s kingdom, I offer this quote from the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral:

 “We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’ His name is ‘Today.’”

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