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O Lord give me a clean heart!

4th Sunday A. 2023

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Psalm 146:6-7,8-9,9-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 5:-12a

Isaiah 55:8-9

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

“In all three readings it is clear that God does not operate according to the standards of this world.”

[Jesus at the football game, p. 147]

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

And so to save your life, you must lose it. The first will be last and last will be first. The stone which the builders rejected, has become the corner stone.

Yes, Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you who mourn. Blessed are you who have your power under control and blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice.

Blessed are the merciful and the clean of heart. Blessed are the peacemakers and those mocked and ridiculed for the name of Jesus.

Rejoice! Be glad! Our ways are not God’s ways, and neither are our thoughts, equal to the thoughts of God revealed in Jesus the Christ.

If you are among those considered foolish by the Tik Tok and Onlyfans connection of self-idolization; if you are meek while carrying your gun, and you count for nothing before the famous -the Oscar winning crowd- despised because you are not the right weight, with the right hair, of the right skin color, at the right school, with the right friends, in the right zip code, rejoice! Be glad!

The Bible says: God will reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no person, no nation, no business, no religion might boast before God.

God’s ways are not our ways.

The good life, abundant life; connection with God, self and others is for those who recognized and admit that they are poor in spirit. They recognize the sickness of their soul, the sorry condition of their spirit and they ask for help from the Holy Spirit. For them, is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Those who recognize their self-centeredness, greed, lust, jealousy, envy, and laziness, and mourn because of the sickness of their soul, they will be comforted. Just as the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears mourned, and dried with her hair his feet in gratitude, Jesus will comfort those who mourn over the sickness of their soul.

Jesus is with us in our brokenness, and he will heal, reconcile and set us free.

When the strong and the powerful have their power under control, they are meek. When they do not have their strength and power under control they act like the five police officers who beat Tyre Nichols. They will not inherit the earth.

The Good life, abundant life; connection with God, self and others comes to those who show to others the mercy they have experienced from God. If God has been merciful to you, pay it forward. Blessed are the merciful.

Laws won’t free us from the racism and violence in our society. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will provide security or the good life, abundant life and connection with God, self and others.

Rather, Blessed are those who have a pure heart, a changed heart, a clean heart. They will see in each person they encounter, the face of God.

O Lord give me a clean heart!

Blessed are those who experience the peace of God they will share that peace with others as children of the God of peace. Rev. MLK had that peace. As his home was bombed, as he walked to Selma, as he came down from the mountain top, in the midst of violence and biting dogs, Rev. King was peace and shared peace. And so

Blessed are those who can rejoice in the worst moments of life -win or lose- for they have found the true treasure and the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.

The Beatitudes are a way to live and when we live them we live in God’s kingdom of life and not in the World’s kingdom of Death. When we live the Beatitudes, our ways are not the ways of the World and the World’s thoughts are not our thoughts.

For the disciples of the Kingdom of Heaven, bread becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus, and we become the body of Christ. Heaven and earth meet. Justice and peace kiss. Eagles fly and we shall overcome!


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