Lectionary Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a] January 29, 2017

Engaging Faith | Wed, Jan 25, 2017

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Education for Justice

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

January 29, 2017


Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 5:1-12a



January 28: Chinese New Year - Year of the Rooster

January 29 - February 4: Catholic Schools Week

February: African American History Month

February 4: World Cancer Day

February 5: Super Bowl Sunday

February 5: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family 



There can never be true peace as long as a single human being is violated in his or her personal identity. 

— Pope Francis, 16 January 2017

The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes.

— US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 94

Life according to the Spirit, whose fruit is holiness (cf. Rom 6:22; Gal 5:22), stirs up every baptized person and requires each to follow and imitate Jesus Christ, in embracing the Beatitudes, in listening and meditating on the Word of God, in conscious and active participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, in personal prayer, in family or in community, in the hunger and thirst for justice, in the practice of the commandment of love in all circumstances of life and service to the brethren, especially the least, the poor and the suffering.

— Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici

Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry.  Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace, 92

Christ's Gospel responds positively to Man's thirst for justice, but in an unexpected and surprising way. He does not propose a social or political revolution but rather one of love, which he has already brought about with his Cross and his Resurrection. It is on these that are founded the Beatitudes which present a new horizon of justice, unveiled at Easter, thanks to which we can become just and build a better world.

— Pope Benedict XVI, 14 February 2010


Thoughts for Your Consideration

Zephaniah summaries the call of God in a short phrase: “Seek justice, seek humility.” 

Corinthians reminds us that the power of God shows up in our weakness so that “no human being might boast before God.”

Jesus offers us a powerful and radically challenging summary of the Christian life in the Beatitudes.  

The values and wisdom of Jesus contrast markedly with the values that we see play out in parts of our contemporary culture where greed, prestige, power, security, wealth, status and the like are often assumed to be signs of success and happiness. The gospel message is “counter-cultural.”  The Beatitudes challenge us to look in a new way and live in a new way. We are called to be free in a radical liberating way. We are called to learn from those who are striving for righteousness. We are even called to learn from those who are poor or sorrowing.  We are called to acknowledge and learn from our weakness.

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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