Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

29 January 2023

Lately whenever I read scripture, it seems or feels like it was written for us, Anishnabek, because the stories and circumstances that the people of Israel were in are so like our situations. The Jewish people were like prisoners in their own land when the Roman empire claimed it as their territory. The land belonged to Jesus’ people, but it was controlled by foreigners who benefited economically. The Jewish people were resilient as our people are, and they kept their traditions alive as we strive to keep ours.

As I was reflecting on these readings, I thought of our Anishnabe elders and how they would aptly fit the description of the people Zephaniah talks about in the first reading. The humble and lowly of the land, who are not deceitful and do no wrong. We have such elders who are also our prophets, like Zephaniah was. In the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus teaches us the attitudes we are to adopt. Paraphrasing Jesus’ teaching about the Beatitudes, He is saying: Blessed are you when you don’t fit in, in the world, then you will be free. Those who are poor in spirit have nothing to lose and so are free with nothing binding them. Comfort is assured for the grieving. The meek, the mild, the humble, will inherit the earth, the humus, that which is a dark soil, rich in nutrients, perhaps meaning that the meek are life giving. Much more can be said about each one of these Beatitudes but putting them into practice would speak louder. These are what make our elders the wisdom people, the guides and spiritual leaders for our community, also it is that to which we as baptized Catholics are called to be.

St Paul in the second reading tells us how to be the Beatitudes. The fullness of wisdom and strength is in Jesus, from whom the wisdom of the world will be shamed. We, Anishnabek are the poor, we are those who mourn; we are the meek and mild, hungering and thirsting for what is right and just. We are a blessed people. There is no need to worry or be afraid, but we can rest in peace and know that Jesus is our strength and wisdom. Let us not boast in what we think are our accomplishments, but let us acknowledge and boast in God’s love, life and mercy.

– Sr. Terry (Kateri) Beaudry cps

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