Readings

Readings

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

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

First Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 5:1-12
Today’s Readings teach us that those who are “persons of disinterest” in the eyes of the world are always of interest to God, and a true source of good and virtue in the world.

In today’s First Reading the Lord tells Israel that if they truly want safety and security, they must seek justice, humility, and his law:

The unjust are destined for destruction by their own iniquity. Justice is about giving each person their due, and making amends when we haven’t. It’s about always seeking to do the right thing without a lot of angst or hand-wringing, even when doing the right thing is hard.
Sometimes doing the right thing seems to put us in the minority. The Lord says today that being the minority is not a problem. If being honest and doing the right thing puts us in the minority, it is a minority the Lord himself shelters.

The “remnant” mentioned in today’s First Reading are those Israelites, that minority, who strive to do the right thing and who’ll be the seed of the new People of God when the Messiah comes.
In today’s Second Reading Paul reminds the Christians of their humble beginnings. They were “persons of disinterest” before the Lord came and made them strong and wise in him:
Our Lord revealed that the Gospel was for everyone, no matter what their background, social standing, wealth, or talents were. That meant salvation and glory were for all.

Paul reminds the Corinthians today that this lofty calling should not go to their head. They have no importance that they did not receive from Our Lord. If there’s any pride to show, it’s to be proud of Our Lord.
Christians are often seen by the worldly as foolish, weak, and uninteresting. Yet these “persons of disinterest” show the power of God through living a holy, simple life that often leaves the worldly envious and questioning their own happiness and choices in life.

In the eyes of the world, and, often in the eyes of these “persons of disinterest” it seems they are giving up something and receiving nothing in return, but in today’s Gospel we see that the beatitudes are promises to those “persons of disinterest” that all their legitimate and noble aspirations will be fulfilled:
Each description of someone “blessed” in our Lord’s estimation is not a description of striving to be interesting, but striving for something nobler and persevering when faced by trials and difficulties.
Living a “blessed” life brings benefits that cannot be obtained in any other way. They are the path to a relationship with God, and Heaven itself.

It’s through our humility and “disinterestedness” that the Lord shines in our lives and in the lives of others.
The television show Person of Interest ran for five seasons on CBS. “Person of Interest” is an expression coined by various intelligence and law enforcement agencies to indicate someone who shows signs of being a potential threat, warranting closer scrutiny, investigation, and surveillance, even though they have not been formally charged with a crime.

In the show, a computer programmer creates an artificial intelligence for the U.S. government that is capable of sifting through all the surveillance data and personal data that is digitally accessible to identify persons who were likely to be terrorists, criminal threats, or victims.

The programmer soon realizes that many threats to people are classified as “irrelevant,” because they didn’t involve something on a large scale. These potential victims and perpetrators were discarded as irrelevant, so the programmer decides to go private and help the “irrelevant” people through a backdoor in the program while the government focused on the “relevant” ones.

Christianity began in the lower classes of Greco-Roman society, and at the beginning, it stayed there, even though the Gospel was preached to all.

The upper echelons of Roman society didn’t pay attention to them when they were just considered, at first, another sect of Judaism. As Christianity spread, not only in the empire, but among the empire’s enemies, the Roman authorities grew concerned, and the first persecutions began. Simply being Christian became a crime.

Christians try to live a Christian life, yet to society, this simple, unassuming life often makes them “persons of interest” and a potential threat to the worldly.

When celebrities and “very important people” receive some acknowledgment or award, they usually try to “thank the little people” who made their great achievements possible. Humility implies not standing out, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep an eye peeled for those humble, unassuming people who help us every day, often without any recognition. Something as simple as thanking your waiter or waitress, the person who cleans your office, your teacher, a police officer, soldier, or firefighter can help make up for any ingratitude that they have experienced, ingratitude that often makes their work thankless.

However, in humility we know that whatever they are doing they are not “little”: everyone in the eyes of God is important, and their work, united with their love for him, is cherished. We need to see things the same way. Take stock of the “little people” in your life this week. Thank them, and ask yourself whether your attitude toward them needs to change.