GorT works 20-25 miles away from home and as today is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, I surfed around on MassTimes.org and found a couple local parishes that had mid-day Masses. I chose one and arrived 5 minutes before Mass began.
I had never been to this parish but I found it welcoming and the priest who said Mass was excellent. He kept it short likely in deference to those of us attending in the middle of the work day on our lunch breaks. His homily, brief as it was, was well thought out and delivered a simple message: athletes, artists, and regular day-to-day workers practice their trades to improve it as we should with our spiritual lives. In his terms, “practice to make it permanent”. He wove that into the gospel reading of the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12a) which was read today. While I appreciated his homily and the focus on practicing our lives as Catholics to make it permanent (live as Christ, make it to heaven, etc.), GorT took notice of a subpoint in the priest’s homily. As he was discussing the beatitudes, he outlined them as follows (a paraphrase, but the sentiment is captured):
- Blessed are the poor in spirit – God is there to fill that void as no one else can and carry them.
- Blessed are they who mourn – God is with them to console them for no one else can.
- Blessed are the meek – God is there to help them as otherwise they would be crushed.
Father’s point was that when we, as followers of Christ, address these needs we are practicing our faith and acting as Christ.
And my post could end here simply as a poignant reflection on the Solemnity of All Saints Day but there is another point to reflect upon. While I hesitate to mix such a religious and reflective moment with politics, I will do so trepidatiously. We are called, individually through this gospel (and others), to address these concerns. It should be noted that it doesn’t say that government (Caesar?) should help the meek, mournful or humble. It doesn’t call for any organization religious or secular to do so – God calls us individually to do so. So while it is the Christian thing to help the poor, care for the sick and elderly, and feed the hungry, it doesn’t mean that we should shrug off our personal calling in lieu of hoping and voting in such a way that the federal, state, or local government will do that for us.