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Being Beatitudes
In today’s Gospel, the heart of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes, is presented. In the Beatitudes, we see a glimpse of our Lord’s vision of the fullness of his Kingdom. Jesus spoke these words to the multitude who followed him and gathered around him out of curiosity and amazement after witnessing the wonders and miracles he had done. These people wanted to know more about our Lord - who he was, what his intentions were, what he wanted to accomplish. People wanted to experience God’s blessing and power that Jesus had manifested as he encountered different individuals in his ministry. We thus try to understand this address of our Lord as his response to the desires and aspirations of people. His words were not just abstract expressions of ideas and principles he believed in. His words were specifically intended, directed to the people who were there. He wanted to reach out to them, to touch their hearts, to validate their experience and strengthen them.
Based on each of the beatitude our Lord shared, it is revealed to us that he was addressing people who have endured suffering, who experienced loss, who knew injustice, abuse, violence and oppression. His ministry was indeed directed to the poor, excluded and disadvantaged. Each blessing he declared was therefore for them, to console them.
But how did his words console exactly? In the Beatitudes, he was not able to offer any concrete solution. He was not able to provide any material assistance. He was not able to eliminate their pain and agony. What he did was to declare God’s total and absolute solidarity with them, that God knew their troubles, their heartaches, their pain. God saw them. His heart also broke with theirs. In the Beatitudes, it is thus established that our God is the God who stands with the poor, marginalized, oppressed and abused, that he is on the side of the least, last, and lost. And he guarantees that all blessing, power and grace will be offered to the afflicted, tormented and anguished. His very presence, his gift of self, his grace is there with them, with us.
Brothers and sisters in the Social Apostolate, isn’t this consoling especially to us? In many ways, I hope, we likewise proclaim the Beatitudes in the work and service that we do, declaring that God prevails over the injustices, abuses, struggles we seek to address and transform. The Beatitudes can be a source of hope and inspiration for us, especially when we are not able to solve all the problems that confront us in our different programs, advocacies, partner communities; when urgent needs continue to be unmet; when nothing seems to be happening and improving. We remain steadfast and committed in standing with our brothers and sisters, accompanying them, being in total and absolute solidarity with them as our Lord has shown us. Then, we see how each one becomes a blessing, a gift, a grace that makes our Lord’s presence real and felt.
Homily of Fr Bok Arandia, SJ
during the Social Development Cluster Monthly Fellowship and Thanksgiving Mass of Fr Bok
June 10, 2024 | ISO Lobby
*Part of his formation years, Fr Bok was assigned in John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues and Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and is an active volunteer of Tanging Yaman Foundation. We pray for his new assignment in the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service. AM+DG
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