January 8

Reflection

In his preaching Jesus describes the community rooted in God’s reign.The Beatitudes provide a new vision of the world. Those who are truly blessed are named by Jesus; they are not the emperors, priests or the wealthy. Rather, they are the common people, those whom earthly success has largely passed by: the poor, the meek, the persecuted, and the peacemakers. Even though they may not have worldly success, what cannot be taken away from them is their potential to live in just relationship. Jesus proclaims that as long as ordinary people stand for the right things and do not retreat before those who seem to have more power, what is right will prevail.  If we believe in this and live according to this vision, our united efforts can bring about attitudinal change in our communities. From there it has the potential to spread out slowly to change the prevailing consciousness in our world.

Prayer

Create in me a new spirit, O Lord.

Action

What are my standards of success? How do I view “the lowly and despised of the world”? Where is my life in line with the vision of Jesus? Where do I believe in and support the norms of present society?

Suggested Reading

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Matthew 5:1-12

God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something…
1Cor 1:26-35

Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone, will also risk breaking down.
Pope Francis

Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own.
Henri Nouwen

Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.
Mother Teresa

Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.
David Spangler

Each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good.  We are a community.  Our individual fates are linked; our futures intertwined; and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, as the Bible says: “We can move mountains.
Jimmy Carter

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
Frederick Buechner

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
George Eliot

For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.
Millard Fuller

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