Sunday, January 30, 2011

Confirmation I and II: January 30, 2011: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Read the Gospel: Mt 5:1-12

Journal: How did you live out last week's Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

Some years ago, I was riding in a van with some teenagers when I jokingly threatened to tie a loud kid to the roof with a cord. That way, I joked, he could still ride with us but we wouldn't have to listen to him. His response? "That would be cool." And he probably would have enjoyed it. Teenagers like risk. Rock climbing. Driving fast. The rush of adrenalin. The thrill of adventure. That's why teenagers make excellent disciples. Following Jesus is all about risk. In this week's Gospel, Jesus calls his disciples to risk. The Beatitudes (which is what we call the list in this Gospel) are risky actions Jesus tells his followers to choose. For example, be poor in spirit. (Ask God's guidance for all decisions.) Be meek. (Treat others as if they're more important than you.) Mourn. (Don't hide your pain.) Be merciful. (Choose forgiveness.) Be a peacemaker. (Work publicly for peace and justice.) You take a risk when you live a Beatitude. People might mock you for letting God, rather than wealth or popularity, set your direction. People might put you down when someone hurts you and you don't get even. People might call you crazy for protesting abortion or war. But Jesus says God will bless us when we take these risks. In other words, God will act in our favor. So when you let God direct you, God will give you a meaningful life. When you face your pain and mourn, God will comfort you through prayer or by sending people to help you. When you choose mercy and work for peace, God will give you the strength you need to forgive and the courage to stand publicly against violence. So take a risk this week. Live the Beatitudes. It's an adventure.

Journal: Which Beatitude seems the riskiest for you to live? Which seems the easiest? Which Beatitude could you see yourself living right now - reflect on a current situation happening to you or around you; which Beatitude can you use to respond to it and how? Be specific and give details.

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