January 29, 2017

Reading 1 Zep 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

I want to be like the people described above.  Doing no wrong, no lies, and nothing disturbing them.  They enjoy peace and serenity and take refuge in the Lord.  How many other places do we seek refuge? These places are more so hiding spots than anything else.  They are places where we run from the Lord either on purpose or subconsciously.  The Name of the Lord is their Safe Haven.  Just His Name alone has power.  I want the Lord to be my Refuge rather than withering into my hiding spots to avoid issues and block out problems.  Thinking about how these people do no wrong is a model to follow to rid my life of all the wrong and sin that takes me from God.

I want my heart to be pure and my soul to be clean by following the command to seek the Lord. We often tend to complicate this command by listening to the noise and making our own vision blurry, but God is all around and places little signs of His Presence as Treasures to be found each day. We must remember, too, that this is a command, not a suggestion.  Every day of our lives should be dedicated to looking for and paying attention to God.

Reading 2 1 Cor 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, 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.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
“Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

The last shall be first.  We’re of ash and will return to ash.  These are humbling statements as well as the passage above.  Without God, we are nothing.  How many times do we get cocky and our heads get big because of some accomplishment or achievement, whether it comes from jobs, school, sports, or beauty? None of those things happen because we are great; it is because He is great.  He is the One that deserves the glory, praise, and honor.  Do we take the credit or give it right back to God? Our lives are not our own; they are God’s.  That is not to say we should not be proud of ourselves if we reach a goal and work hard to attain something, but remember life is God’s gift to us and what we do with it is our gift to Him.  As praises go up, blessings come down.

Gospel Mt 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Am I any of these?  That’s the thought that goes through my head as I read the Beatitudes.  Which matches and resonates with me best?  Poor in spirit.  Am I humble? I want my spirit to be so focused on the Lord and be lifted through that.  I want to crave righteousness and forgive those that hurt me.  I want the evil that decays my heart to be gone and to be pure as snow.  Instead of fighting, I want to create harmony.  The hope of the rewards, especially when being persecuted for His sake, are motivation to keep on the straight and narrow.  It will all be worth it, and how great is God that He not only gives us the Commandments but the Beatitudes as well.  Not only does He tell us what not to do but gives examples and ways to live and say yes to Him.  There is hope, and this is a model of how to get closer and closer to our Savior.

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