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Protecting Children and the Vulnerable

Beatitudes

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Capuchin

This week we read Matthew Chapter 5 in our daily Mass readings: the Sermon on the Mount. We start with the Beatitudes. Jesus teaches from a hilltop. Perhaps this reflects the Old Testament story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. Jesus is sometimes seen as the New Moses.

But the Beatitudes are not so much commandments as they are an invitation to see and appreciate what is already part of our humanity. Jesus says “Blessed are they . . .” Another word would be “Happy.” And the beginning statement is perhaps the key. Blessed, happy are we when we recognize our spiritual poverty. This is not something we work for or try to achieve. If we are honest, we are all poor and needy before God and each other.

So much of our world runs on ego: be first, be a winner, be self-sufficient, be in control. Soon we might add: be miserable, be angry, don’t trust anyone, be afraid of anyone “different” from me.

Jesus tells us happiness comes from facing our vulnerable reality, our need for others, accepting times when we must weep,
even times when we are persecuted for doing good. And there are things to do: be a peacemaker, hunger and thirst for righteousness. This way to happiness may not appear in the advertising on television.

Building Bridges

By Fr. Tom Nguyen, OFM Cap.

Dignity is a blessing and gift from God that each person has, which cannot be taken away. Today, we are called to stand up for justice through love and peace! We must find ways to build bridges that lead from the cross to resurrection. May we pray for greater awareness of human dignity and work together to build a world grounded in the Gospel life. Look another in the eye and see them as your brother and sister!

Holy Trinity

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Capuchin

This Sunday we honor the Holy Trinity. Don’t try to “understand” the Trinity. It’s natural to try to think about the Trinity, to imagine what God “looks like.” We tend to think in pictures, but we are dealing in the realm of spirit and mystery.

We have all seen the old pictures: an old man along with a younger man along with a dove. That is someone’s poor attempt at picturing what can’t be pictured.

What does the Bible say? In the First Letter of John we are told that God is love and that whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in that person. If God equals love, then we seem to be dealing with relationship. God is a constant, dynamic, interactive relationship of love, which then invites us to be a part of that love.

We say God is a mystery. That does not mean we can’t understand God at all. We can understand in part, but then we are invited to go in deeper. If God is love, then what do we already know of love? We look around at good people. We see kindness,  compassion, service, sympathy. These are signs of the loving presence of God in people. So with God we “understand” by getting involved in the mystery. We see and receive love, and we share love with others. We do not so much “think God” as we “act God” in participating in the flow of love in the world. Creator, Savior, Sanctifier, You, Me.

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