Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the famous Beatitudes in the Gospel, where Jesus taught His disciples and the people on the mountain, where He preached them a sermon of blessings. In the Beatitudes are the series of blessings and graces that God revealed to His people, as hope for those who have been faithful to Him and yet faced challenges because of the world and its ways which is often against the ways of the Lord.
In the Beatitudes, we see the profile of a model Christian, whom God had alluded in all the blessings He pronounced. The Lord showed us the way to go forward in our faith, and how we ought to behave as a disciple of our Lord, to be merciful and forgiving, to be just and to be righteous in all of our actions, to be poor in spirit and to be gentle, and to be persevering even in the midst of the toughest persecutions.
In the Beatitudes, we see how God is rewarding the merciful, those who show mercy to their brethren, as He will be merciful to them as well. This is in fact is what we also pray in the Lord’s Prayer, the Pater Noster. We ask God to forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. If we want to be forgiven, then we have to forgive first.
And those who stood up for their faith in God would not be disappointed, for God is with them, as He promised in the Beatitudes. If someone stood up for their faith and they were persecuted because of that faith, they would receive God’s approval and grace. And in this matter, we have an example in our first reading from the Book of Kings, when the prophet Elijah was on the run from king Ahab of Israel, who wanted to kill him.
As the background story goes, the prophet Elijah had just contested the priests of Baal, the pagan god who king Ahab and many in Israel at that time worshipped at Mount Carmel, where he decisively proved that Baal and his priests were frauds, as they worshipped the false god who were in fact a myth and had no power whatsoever, as opposed to YHVH, the one True God Who listened to the prayers of Elijah and showed the people His might.
And when king Ahab was angry and hunted down Elijah after that event, looking for his death, God rescued him and brought him to the desert, where He took good care of him, feeding him and giving him drinks daily, to sustain him through the difficult times until when the time comes for Elijah to come out of hiding. In this we see how God for His people, those who are faithful to Him, those who show the qualities as listed in the Beatitudes.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should also look at the examples of the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely that of St. Norbert, a renowned German bishop and saint, who lived during the time of the Medieval era Europe. He was also known by the name of St. Norbert of Xanten, a city where he grew up in about nine centuries ago.
St. Norbert was known for his great piety from his youth, and served the Lord and His Church in various ways, and after a life-changing experience he encountered, he deepened his faith and committed his life more to the Lord. He adopted a holy and devoted lifestyle, practicing the virtues of the Beatitudes in his life, and many others followed his example to become what is now known as the Canons Regular of Premontre.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should be inspired by the examples, the holiness and the exemplary lifestyle and actions shown by St. Norbert and his followers. All of us should walk in the same way as they have done, and be righteous in all the things which we do. All of that so that when the Lord comes again, He will find us worthy and just, worthy of His blessings and grace, and He will welcome us into His everlasting life.
May God bless us all, and may His grace remain shining upon us, and may all of us remain true and faithful to His ways, and not be disturbed or be tempted by the many falsehoods and lies of the devil. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.