February 17, 2019 – The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends in Christ,

         The Gospel this weekend is the Beatitudes according to Luke. This sermon of Jesus takes place on a plain. Luke’s sermon on the plain and Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount are closely corresponding to each other and both start with a series of beatitudes. Both are different in their versions, but both convey a great revolutionary teaching to the followers. Perhaps we have read them so often that we forget how revolutionary they are. They take the accepted standards and turn them upside down. The people whom Jesus called happy the world would call wretched; and the people Jesus called wretched the world would call happy. 

        Recently, from February 3 – 5, history was made by our Pope, when he made a papal visit to United Arab Emirates. Thus he became the first Pope to visit an Arab nation, following the example of his patron St. Francis of Assissi, who courageously made a missionary journey of peace to the Muslim empire in 1219, an 800 years challenge. The call for world peace and tolerance by the Church and specifically by the Pope was very much made visible through this gesture of Pope Francis and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The Pope was given the most royal welcome ever by the officials of UAE. The faithful were allowed to take off from their work to attend the Holy Mass and different government bodies arranged free buses for the faithful to travel to the biggest stadium of the country where the Mass was celebrated. 135,000 people attended the Mass inside the Stadium and almost the same number Participated watching in huge screens outside the stadium. Thus the head of the smallest nation and the biggest religious institution showed the possibility of bringing peace amidst chaos and confusions in the world. I hope and pray that by this example of our Pope we may grow in our openness towards differences around us. 

        In his homily during the Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium on 5th, Pope Francis spoke of the same blessedness which Jesus spoke in his beatitudes. He said, “if you are with Jesus, if your love to listen to his word as the disciples of  that time did, if you try to live out this word every day, then you are blessed.” The Christian life means living out the joy of this blessedness, wanting to live life as a love story, the story of God’s faithful love, He who never abandons us and wishes to be in communion with us always. This call to live the life of the blessed and follow the way of Jesus does not mean always being cheerful. Someone who afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer. The Beatitudes are not for supermen, but for those who face up to the challenges and trials of each day. May our faithful living of our call help us find our blessedness in the sight of Christ.

Always Keep Smiling – God Loves You!!!    Fr. Sinoj Pynadath HGN