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  • Bill Miller

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 29, 2023

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Matthew 5:1-12a

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. “ These words, reported to be by anthropologist Margaret Mead, came to my mind as I read this week’s scriptures.

In the first reading the prophet Zephaniah speaks of a “faithful remnant,”

humble and lowly, who “do no wrong and speak no lies.” In our second reading, Paul praises the faithful whom he describes as neither powerful nor noble. He says, "God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing.“ Neither reading describes a popular, exciting, fun-filled movement that every one wants to get in on ! If one is motivated by what the young folks call FOMO, fear of missing out, this is not your movement to join!

And the gospel, of course, describes what it costs to be a member of this faithful remnant: a life characterized by poverty of spirit, meekness, hunger for righteousness, mercy, commitment to peace and justice.

And what does this way of life promise? Well, there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that this way of life is likely to make one very unpopular. Persecution is the word in the scripture.

But the good news, is that “your reward will be great in heaven.” Because this world that the beatitudes describe is the kingdom of God. This is what it looks like when God's will is “done on earth as it is in heaven.”

And the world can be changed.. with God's grace and a faithful remnant.

by: Pat Schnee

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