Scripture: Lectionary # 367. II Cor. 9:6-11. Psalm 112:1-2.3-4.9.
Jesus encourages us to perform the three religious duties common to Jews,
Christians, and Muslims, with joy. These three "pillars" are prayer,
fasting, and almsgiving (generous real acts of concrete kindnesses). We
are told in the Sermon on the Mount to be blessed that is happy people
while performing our religious devotions and duties. No sad faces, nor an
excessive petitioning, and a reasonable amount of giving.
The Psalm response also mentions the positive theme of "happy" or beatitude
language. Jesus does this even better by listing eight of the the
beatitudes in his great Sermon on the Mount. We know that there are many
other beatitudes within the Bible but it is Jesus who brings them together
in a bluepring for joyous and holy and wholesome living. Each beatitude
is similar to a grouping of thermometers that help the others to rise at
the same level. Thus by doing one beatitude well, the other easily follow.
We also recall that the term Blessed Mother or Blessed Virgin is given to
Mary in our tradition and devotions. She is the woman of the beatitudes or
the Beatitudes personified. We learn from the rabbinic tradition that a
person is truly blessed (happy or fortunate) when they accept what God has
called them to be and when they are content with their lot in life. There
is much wisdom in the rabbinic tradition about being content with one's lot
If we need another great model for living out the beatitudes we look to
Paul who especially in II Corinthians has given us some very practical down
to earth wisdom in speaking about how we are to live out our lives as human
beings focused on God and the Son of God, Jesus. Paul tells us that God
loves a cheerful giver. His words about taking up collections for the poor
are implied in this pericope or in our first reading. Giving with a
generous heart and hand make people happy. The joy of living in the spirit
of our readings for today is what will attract others to follow the
teaching of Jesus and the preaching of Paul. Yes, the Lord loves a
cheerful giver. Amen.
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