Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jan 24, 2011

By John Bucki, SJ

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

January 30, 2011



     Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

     1 Corinthians 1:26-31

     Matthew 5:1-12a



January 30 - February 5, 2011: Catholic Schools Week

February: African American History Month

February 6: Super Bowl Sunday

February 6: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family

February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day




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.

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


A powerful and radically challenging key to the Christian life is found in the Beatitudes.  The key is summarized in the first reading from Zephaniah in the phrase: “Seek justice, seek humility.”


The values 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 clearly “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. 


Each of the Beatitudes may remind us of some aspect of Catholic Social Teaching:

·          Our preferential option for the poor

·          Our special concern for anyone who is suffering

·          The profound dignity of every person irrespective of wealth or power

·          Our hunger for justice in the world and in its institutions and structures

·          Our concern for mercy and justice in our criminal justice system

·          Our profound respect for life in all it forms

·          Our care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all

·          Our passion for nonviolence and peace

·          Our willingness to face opposition and to live by values different from those of our culture.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group


Which of the beatitudes do you find most challenging? 

How does it challenge your way of living?




How does living the beatitudes set you free?

How does living the beatitudes help you to be a more joyful and complete human person?




Have you ever experienced persecution in your pursuit of righteousness?

Have you ever seen others who have experienced persecution in their pursuit of righteousness?



Actions - Links


For info on ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History:  


For info about the campaign to end slavery in our time:  The Not For Sale Campaign equips and mobilizes Smart Activists to deploy innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe.”



“Crazy Facts”


The Not for Sale Campaign to re-abolish slavery estimates that 27 million people in the world are enslaved today.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around the world more than one billion people in low and middle-income countries lack access to safe water for drinking, personal hygiene and domestic use.  Get other facts about water and sanitation around the world at


The World Health Organization estimates that 8 million children under five die every year.



Prayers of Intercession


Response: God, bless all those who struggle for justice.

For all those suffering in any way, we pray….

For all those who suffer from poverty, we pray….

For all those denied their basic human rights and dignity, we pray…..

For all those struggling and taking risks to create a world of justice and peace, we pray….

For all those working to create a profound respect for life in all it forms, we pray….

For those promoting the care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all, we pray….

For all those speaking out and acting with a passion for nonviolence and peace, we pray….

For all those facing opposition and persecution as they try to live out the values of Christ, we pray…..


Prayer – Meditation


For a “Dialogued Prayer on the Beatitudes” go to:




A prayer from Pax Christi USA: Disarm the Heart, Disarm the Nations


God, thank you for your great love and all that you give to me.   Give me the grace and the courage to live a life of nonviolence so that I may be faithful to Jesus.  Send me your Spirit that I may love everyone as my sister and my brother and not fear anyone.  Help me to be an instrument of your peace; to respond with love and not to retaliate with violence; to accept suffering rather than inflict it; to live more simply; to resist death and to choose life for all your children.  Guide me along the way of nonviolence.  Disarm my heart and I shall be your instrument to disarm other hearts.  Lead me, God of nonviolence, into your reign of love and peace, where there is no fear and no violence.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.