|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
In life, we have a habit of always looking at things from the same angle. Whether they are political, personal, cultural or even religious, we always look at them in a certain way. Often the outcome is predicted by the way in which we view things. We even do it when we come to church. For example, we all sit in pretty much the same place every week! If I asked someone to switch from one place and move to another part of the Church, they would probably hate me for it. Try it sometime! The irony of this little exercise is that most of us are worried about being selected. “Don’t pick me!” we think.
We always seem to look at life the same way. Whether it be the seat that we sit in or a religious or personal view that we hold, it is hard to change that view. Yet when we change the way we look at something, we see people differently and with a fresh look.
That is exactly what the scriptures talk about today.
In particular, the beatitudes in today’s Gospel ask us to change our view and the way we view things. Blessed are the poor? Blessed are the hungry? Blessed are the thirsty?
Blessed are those who mourn? Do we really want to be any of those things? And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, when we have been at our lowest point in our lives or when we have experienced the most pain, those are the times when we have probably been closest to God – not that we knew it immediately, but that we eventually came to realize how we drew close to God: it was in the midst of all that pain that we were right next to God. Yes, the Gospel is saying to us “blessed are the poor in spirit,” but we have to be willing to change seats to see it this way.
If we change our seats at church, we will find that we can pray just as easily from this view as we could in our old place. We can see lots of new faces from here. That is what we are called to do in our faith.
We are called to change seats. We are called to look at life just a little bit differently, to look at the people who we once looked at and to view them with a fresh and new face, a fresh and new look, to open our hearts to a new way of thinking; to look at our children with a fresh set of eyes; to look at our parents with a new set of eyes, from a new angle; to look again at that neighbor who really seems to irritate us the most; to look again at them from a new angle and from the freshness of a new day.