BLESSED ARE YOU WHO ARE NOW HUNGRY …!
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
My dear encountered couples:
“Blessed are you who hunger; filled you shall be.” That was one of the promises Jesus gave to us at the beginning of his sermon on the mountain. There are many hungers we have. Hunger for food and drink is not the only one. We experience many more hungers. There is hunger for love, hunger for knowledge, hunger for companionship, hunger for sexual satisfaction, hunger for success, hunger for peace and happiness. You alone know what your special hungers and cravings are. Jesus has promised to take care of all of them, to fill us to even more than overflowing. But it just won’t happen without our doing things. We must believe in Jesus, trust him, and do what we can to cooperate with him and his Father.
Jesus didn’t enter eternal happiness just by sitting around Nazareth and whittling on a piece of wood. He worked, both for an earthly living in the carpentry business, and for a heavenly living as he preached and lived the word of God. Jesus entered eternal happiness by giving his life for others, by doing things that would make this a better world when he would be gone. In order that all our hungers be satisfied, we must do the same. Why do I say that?
Well, because: One of our greatest hungers is a craving to be satisfied with ourselves. We all hunger for importance. We all want to make a difference in this world - a good difference. We all want our lives to be considered worthwhile when we are gone. We want people to remember us kindly. Most of all we want to be able to be pleased with ourselves, to be able to pat ourselves on the back when our time here on earth is over.
That won’t happen unless our faith in God leads us to try very hard and often to do good things for other people. Your faith in Jesus Christ is only genuine if it moves you to doing things that will make this world a better place for at least one person after you are gone, a better place than it was before you were born.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of those movies in which beings from outer space take human form. They either manufacture a body or they enter into an unused one, and then proceed to live on earth trying to do the good or the bad they were sent here to do. When they are done, when their time is up, they leave their borrowed human bodies and go back to where they came from. Those movies always leave me wondering if there are any aliens on earth today living in human bodies. And is maybe one of them my father?
Isn’t that sort of what the Son of God did? He came to earth and entered a human body; he took on human form. Now before you theologians jump down my throat, let me say I realize the Son of God actually did become human and didn’t merely inhabit a human body. But we might find it helpful for understanding life a bit better if sometimes we think of Jesus as God occupying a human body. That’s sort of like those aliens in the movies. They are Martians, or whatever, occupying a human body. They came to earth to do something special, and then leave.
Though we are a unity of human body and human soul, we could sort of be looked upon as spirits in bodies. And our spirits, which we call souls, leave our bodies when we die. Where do they go? Let us hope it is to heaven and not to you—know—where. And when our souls get to heaven Jesus has promised that we will get a newly formed, resurrected body, like the one he had when he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
Right now, we find ourselves on earth. We came from God. We each have a body. But this will only last for a short period of time. Maybe it’s just for five, ten, twenty, thirty or seventy years that we live on earth in these lovely bodies of ours. A few people manage to stay around for a hundred years or more. But no matter how long we stay on earth, we are here only for a short while in comparison to forever. And while we are here, like those aliens in the movies, we are supposed to do things - let us hope it is good things we decide to do and not bad. And since our time is limited, just like the time for those aliens in the movies is limited, we had better get with it and not waste time, or we won’t get much done. It would be a terrible shame if because of our own laziness, our own fault, that we would regret for all eternity something we left undone, something we could have done while we lived on earth, but didn’t?
On the other hand, think how wonderful you will feel if you leave earth and enter eternity knowing you did all you could, knowing you left good results behind you, that other people are better off and happier because of the years you spent on earth. You have been sent here to make a difference. And when you make a difference, a good difference of course, you will find yourself feeling good about yourself. Your hunger for feeling worthwhile, your craving for importance will have been satisfied. And you will also find that while you have been doing all those things for the happiness of others, while you have learned to care for others and not always think about yourself, that God was at work satisfying all your other hungers. You will find yourself filled and complete with the goodness of heaven.
“When Jesus came down the mountain, he stopped at a level stretch where there were many of his disciples; a large crowd of people was with them from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. Then, raising his eyes to his disciples, he said: “BLESSED ARE YOU WHO HUNGER; FILLED SHALL YOU BE.”
Jesus was talking to you. Just as earth was not the real home of all those people who were listening to him on that mountain, earth is not your real home. Heaven is where you are meant to live. There only will your hungers be satisfied. In the meantime, don’t waste time. Do all the good you can do while you are here. Your space ship will be on its way soon enough to whisk you away to somewhere. To where? Let us hope it is to where Jesus went. To the only place where all your hungers will be filled to even more than overflowing.