Jesus gives his famous “Sermon on the Mount” from St. Matthew’s Gospel; which includes the Beatitudes. We hear how the meek shall inherit the land, those that mourn will be comforted, those that are hungry and thirsty will be satisfied, those who are merciful, clean of heart and ‘poor’ in spirit will be called children of God. These words are so contrary, so contradictory to all the messages of our culture!
St. Paul, explains these paradoxical perspectives of Jesus. He tells us that God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the lowly and “despised” to reduce those who boast as ‘something’ to nothing─so that no one boasts except in the Lord. These, like the beatitudes, are contradictory statements, seemingly illogical statements from all that our culture espouses and teaches about what makes success, happiness and a good life.
Websters tells us that a paradox is a tenet contrary to received opinion; a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true. It is something with seemingly contradictory qualities or phrases. We Catholic Christians should be accustomed to this kind of language in our theology: “Mary, Virgin and Mother” or “Jesus, fully human and fully divine,” or “God, crucified and resurrected.” It seems that these things should cancel each other out, but we know and believe that they do not. It is precisely in these mysteries and contradictions that we discover our God. Foolishness for the world is the wisdom from above. It is another, an “other” perception we must seek in order to be in a state of grace, in order to live in spiritual grace.
In our faith journey we must try every day to be “Fools for Christ.” In the eyes of the world we choose simplicity, we choose ‘less is more,’ we choose the truth. Our time, our talent and treasure is for God (first). We bring service and compassion to the marginalized, and just say “no” to what the world tells us is true. We do this because we know: “Rejoice and be glad, your reward will be great in heaven.” And we know there is joy in being foolish for Christ in the here and now, too.
Just a Note: As we have now entered a new season in this new year, The St. Aidan Music Ministry is looking for a few good men and women. If you love to sing and love good music, come and see me after any weekend mass. I may also be reached by emailing me at: email@example.com. Come and sing what you believe and believe what you sing!