God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
Our scripture today puts an emphasis on the humble and lowly. Zephaniah prophesied in the time of King Josiah who attempted to reform Judah’s regression into idolatry. It appears Zephaniah was convinced that true reform comes from below, not from above. Paul points out that God chose the foolish, the weak, and the lowly to teach that faith is a gift and it is due to God alone that we’re “in Christ Jesus.” We didn’t do anything to pull it off, except to be open to God working in our lives.
Today’s Gospel passage is Matthew’s introduction to his Sermon on the Mount: a three chapter collection of some (but not all) of Jesus teachings. The evangelist wants the community to know that if they’ve agreed to buy into Jesus of Nazareth’s dreams, then this is how they’ll make those dreams a reality. If, for instance, they want world peace, they’ll achieve it only by building loving relationships with their enemies, not by being more powerful than they are.
Matthew is convinced that only a remnant willing to look at people and situations with different eyes than the majority of people look at them will actually carry out Jesus’ demands. This unique group experiences a blessing in being poor, in mourning and being meek. They strive daily to do what God expects them to do: show mercy, be single minded and bring peace. They’re always looking beyond the present to the future Jesus promised. Obviously such a radical belief isn’t for everyone.
What prompts a particular person to choose a commitment to God, to become a part of the remnant? I’m convinced, among other traits, a person’s willingness to evolve and adapt is a key element in those who form the remnant.
It’s clear that Jesus’ basic “stump speech” revolved around a determination to change one’s value system. Jesus begins his public ministry by reminding us the kingdom of God is at hand and we need to repent. That value system change is behind Matthew’s Beatitudes. It’s the premise for the unique morality we find in Christian Scripture.
Paul tells us if we want to learn how to change our value system look to the lowly, the weak. They will show us that nothing weakens us more than our love of others. When we give ourselves on that level all our defenses, all our strengths are wiped out. (Taken from Celebration, Fr. Roger Karban)
This week is Catholic Schools Week. I’m grateful for the children who came and expressed their appreciation for us and how we support Catholic Schools. I’m grateful for those who work in our Catholic Schools and make this ministry available to our children.
Within the next few weeks, a representative from Guidebook Publishing will be here to solicit ads for our upcoming guidebook and directory. If you would like to purchase an ad, please call the parish office. Also, if your phone number has changed within the past year, please call or email the parish office so we have the most current and
accurate information for you.