4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 29, 2017
Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5: 1-12a
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs!” Ps. 146
Over the past week, we have watched the unfolding of a new administration that will govern our country. With the election of our new President, Donald Trump, we have witnessed division within our communities and the heated rhetoric generated by those who support the new leadership and those who oppose it.
Within our Bronx neighborhood, one of the poorest Congressional Districts in the United States, families are struggling with issues of poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, drug abuse, and other overwhelming pressures.
This past Sunday, during the Liturgy, when the Intercessory prayers included prayers for our new President, there arose an audible groan from the pews. Our Pastor was able to respond to the display of discontent by reminding the parishioners of the need we have to pray for those who are in positions of leadership, who seem to present an agenda of oppression and disregard for the plight of the poor and downtrodden.
This Sunday’s readings fill us with Hope in God’s protection and compassion that we might seek the Lord with trust and rely on Him, seeking refuge in His loving embrace.
The psalmist reminds us of God’s faithfulness:
To secure justice for the oppressed
Give food to the hungry
Set captives free
Give sight to the blind
Raise up those who are bowed down
Sustain the fatherless and widows
Thwart the way of the wicked.
We are called to bring the Gospel message of the Beatitudes to our world today, trusting that those in authority will heed the promptings of the Spirit of God to be able to attend to the cry of the poor. We need to continue to pray that God’s Spirit of Wisdom and Compassion will guide our new President and lawmakers to open their hearts to make those decisions which will bring about justice and peace for all.
Loving God of Infinite Mercy and Compassion, help us to witness to your Presence in our world and to help others, especially those among us, who are struggling, to place their trust in You, who heals the broken hearted and lifts up the poor.
Sister Mary Doris, OP