Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 30, 2011


Today, we find Jesus in his best teaching moment – the sermon on the mount – the beatitudes.  They are the road map for Christian living; the revelation of God’s justice and Truth; a blueprint for holiness.

But the problem is that many of us have bought into the popular interpretation of attitudes believing these are prescriptions for how we should be.  If we trace “Blessed” back to the original Aramaic that Jesus would have used, the word is “Ashray” from the verb “Yashar”.  Far from a passive attitude, “ashray” means to set yourself on the right way for the right goal.

So if understand the Beatitudes in this way, they are better understood as “Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are hungry and thirsty for justice; you who desire peace.  Move, do something, you who desire mercy; you who long to comfort.”

This sermon is about the teacher empowering the students to do more than just be.  This is not a passive lesson, but a demand for action.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Zephaniah 2.3, 3.12-13; 1 Corinthians 1.26-31; Matthew 5.1-12)



  1. Father, as a student of literature and of the world (my studies/career is in economic development in Africa), I enjoy your homilies as they bring me to even greater understandings of my own faith. This homily was no different, but I felt like you missed something, and you usually don’t miss anything. You mentioned in a homily a few weeks ago that moment in the desert, if you will, where you understand your own strength. I think what was missed in this homily was that the Beatitudes, and even The Incomplete Manifesto that you referenced, both drive down to the intrinsic need for a person to self understand, to be able to let go of their pre-conceived notions of what was supposed to be, to truly ‘need’ or be desperate in order to have that need or desire truly fulfilled. Moving to New York after college and living on $20/week, I learned to eat very little. The taste of food was different then, than it is now. But, I hungered (literally) for the life I was living, and lived so fully in every moment. When we live in a world where, even for the poorest of us, things are so disposable, isn’t it harder to ‘long’ or ‘need’, so as to truly feel the blessings of receiving? I guess my point is that I think it is more than just ‘do something’, it is more about losing yourself in the endeavor (mourning, working, etc.) until you literally see the light and your faith will show you your strength to move you to your next place.

    • Kristin,

      Thank you for your comment. I am grateful for your thoughts as they are right on. Action is never separate from contemplation – we must always remember this. May God bless you!

      Fr. Chris

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