4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
In a world that values independence and self-sufficiency, seeing oneself as blessed in the areas where one lacks is counter-cultural. But if we humbly embrace it, the Lord can work & shine more. Having more needs – being poor in health, wealth, or other ways – allows for the Lord to act & be seen instead of us.
Dealing with a chronic illness that causes a lot of brain fog and fatigue, I learned in high school that I needed to rely on the Lord, not my own efforts. Though I had a good relationship with the Lord at the time, my perfectionist, do-it-myself tendencies were hard to set aside until I was forced to. It ended up being a great blessing. I began to rely on the Lord for more, which drew me into a closer daily relationship. Looking at the success of every assignment and test, I easily could say: it was not by me alone, but by Christ helping me. Because I was communicating with God more and experiencing Him respond, our relationship deepened. In return, I wanted to give back to Him more, spend more time with Him, and know His heart more.
We don’t have to have situational circumstances that make us deficient in some way in order to live out being poor. We are all spiritually poor, with a never-ending great need for God. Recognizing this is a blessing (see Luke 18:9-14).
With this is an invitation: to receive more of His mercy, love, & Spirit, and to then be more effective in shining His light, doing His work, and bringing His presence & words wherever we are. Embracing our need for God takes humility, love, trust, and a desire for Him to shine through & be seen, not us.
Jesus himself relied on His Father (John 5:19), and Paul gives us another witness in Galatians 2:20 when he says, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith, adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not set aside the grace of God…”
May we all become more dependent on God in loving and grateful trust, so we can spread and inherit the kingdom of heaven.