Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-29-2023From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. Antony Arockiadoss

Dear Family!

I begin my weekly write-up by thanking all the volunteers who came forward to be part of the ’72 disciples’ ministry. Your initiative and readiness to serve our parish community is certainly a great step in the right direction to encourage our theme to this Eucharistic Renewal in our parish and diocese.

As I mentioned last week in the announcement that this initiative is as bold and ambitious as the bishops planning to commission 80,000 Eucharistic Missionaries at the end of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our Eucharistic Renewal is beautifully connected to our response to Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1749 teaches us that, “The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith.”

The Catechism continues to reveal to us, “The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.” (1717)

‘Anawim’ the Hebrew word represents the Remnant of Israel. The first reading talks to us of God’s work of preserving the remnant of the people of God. The humble and oppressed/afflicted of the earth are mentioned in the Bible and are identified as the ‘remnant’. God promises in the Old Covenant to preserve them through our conversion.

It is the same way God continues to preserve a faithful remnant to be the heart of the New Covenant Church. Some years ago, before Pope Benedict XVI retired, he was asked by a journalist how concerned he was that so many Catholics were no longer attending Mass or being obedient to the Church's teachings. His response was that he was not concerned because God promised the preservation of the "faithful remnant." He continued that it is through the "faithful remnant" that the Catholic Church will persevere in faith until the return of the Redeemer-Messiah, Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to strive to be that "faithful remnant.” The Beatitudes are the blueprint for a radically transformed life in the Spirit, and each of the Beatitudes is a step forward on the road to eternal salvation. A good question to ask ourselves this Sunday is: Which of the Beatitudes appeal to you most and which one challenges you the most?

Fr. Antony