June 11, 2018

Gospel MT 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
In today’s gospel Jesus teaches His disciples that our Father blesses us in all situations and circumstances.
So what exactly does it mean to be blessed? To be blessed is to have the love of God descend upon you, protecting you.
Sadly, out of fear or sorrow, excitement or good fortune, we tend to forget that we are always under the protective love of our Father.
Jesus, knowing that the disciples will face many trials, reminds them (and us) that we are always wrapped in God’s love. There is no circumstance in our life when God’s love is not with us.
Whether we are celebrating our good fortune or mourning our losses, our spirits are lifted and our hope renewed when we are able to go forward in the knowledge that God’s blessing, His love, is with us.
As Christians, the conveying of a blessing is a normal part of our everyday life. We call down God’s love in all sorts of circumstances. We begin and end our prayers by blessing ourselves, we give our blessing to babies and newly married couples. We convey blessings in nearly every situation of life from birth to death.
A grandmother once told me that when her own children were old enough to leave the house, she would always call them to her and make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, giving them a blessing as they went on their way. Years later her heart swelled with joy as she watched her daughter bless her grandchildren in the same way.
While doing deliveries with My Brother’s Keeper, we often offer to bless a newborn baby. An immediate excitement fills the air as the entire family and all the volunteers come together, each one raising a hand above the infant.
There is a hush as the words are invoked, “May the blessings of Almighty God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit descend upon this child and remain with them forever and ever…Amen.”
Made in God’s image, we are the presence of God on earth. The giving of a blessing brings with it a bonding of everyone present. As the Father blesses me, I am called to bless others.
“To give someone a blessing is the most
significant affirmation we can offer.”
Henri Nouwen