Boast in the Lord Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time A
Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13 Psalm 146:6-7,8-9, 9-10 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Matthew 5:1-122A
Through today’s second reading Saint Paul encourages us to be humble and if we do boast we “should boast in the Lord.” Recently, someone I was talking with gave me insight into what Saint Paul means by telling us that if we want to boast, if we want to sing praises we should not praise ourselves. Instead, we should sing praises by boasting in the Lord.
As it was explained to me, so often we think that pride is mistakenly believing that, “I know more and in a better way than you do.” This definition, though, limits pride to intellectual error, to intellectual content in our minds. However, pride is broader than simply claiming to be a know it all, claiming to know more than other people when we do not.
Pride, I was told, is essentially about being ungrateful, not being grateful to God for everything he has given to us collectively and individually. Pride, therefore, is more about forgetfulness, forgetting what we have received especially from God. For this reason, Saint Paul tells us that if we feel the urge to boast we should boast in the Lord because ultimately everything we have, our entire existence is a gift from the Lord.
Ordinarily, God gives gifts to us through other people, this includes qualities that are unique to us. If I think about all the qualities that make up who I am as a unique human being I can easily identify at least eighty percent of them as coming from my father, and my mother. Then, if I reflect on all the other of my qualities, these have come through other people who have influenced me, especially friends, acquaintances, and people I work with and worked with. When I think about anything that I came up by myself the response is nothing. After all, only God can create out of nothing. We can only create out of something already given to us.
Aware of our deep poverty, may we with Saint Paul boast in the Lord and never boast about ourselves as if we can create something out of nothing.
The Gospel for today also teaches about our poverty. In the Gospel passage Jesus instructs his disciples by first saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. Those who are poor in spirit are those who remain aware that everything they have comes from God to them through other people and through creation. Those who are poor in spirit remain aware that we are created out of nothing. Those who are poor in spirit remain aware that we were born through our mother’s womb, and we born naked without any clothes.
Those who are poor in spirit remain aware that when God calls us to be born into eternal life by dying we will return to our creator as naked as we were born, for this is the only way to be born into eternal life, through the womb of Holy Mother the Church into heaven without clinging onto to any created reality for we have been created not for any created reality but for God who wants us to rejoice and boast in the Lord with all our heavenly friends.
May God Bless You – Father Peter