Happy Sunday! The liturgy today urges us to rejoice. “Blessed” and “Happy” repeatedly appear in today’s liturgy. We hear it in the psalm refrain, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit,” and again in the Beatitudes. As I pondered the reading, I wondered, Why are we to rejoice? Who are the blessed, and what makes them blessed? In the first reading, Zephaniah tells us that “those who seek the Lord are the blessed, those who are humble, shall take refuge in the Lord” (cf. Zeph. 2:3; 3:12-13). Psalm 146 describes the “who”: the oppressed, hungry, captives, blind, those bowed down. St. Paul goes on to add: the foolish of the world, the weak, lowly, despised, the nobodies in the world. He also tell us the “why”: because God chose them.
And then the Gospel gives us the full picture. It is clear from today’s reading that it is the dejected in the world that are to be blessed and happy. God indeed has a different logic than the world’s logic. I imagine that those listening to Jesus on the mount were flabbergasted and hanging on his every word, waiting for understanding. Then Jesus says, “Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven” (Matt. 5:12). That is, Rejoice, for God sees differently and has different standards than those of the world. Be glad, for your God has chosen you, has looked upon your sorrow, and will reward you with himself. Rejoice and be glad you who seek the Lord, because although you are poor, mourning, meek, hungry, persecuted, although you have nothing in this world, you actually have everything, for you have God.
Let rejoice and be glad in Him!