Given what is happening politically around the world these days, we might be tempted to believe that the wealthy, powerful and those concerned with their own well-being are now in charge, making our laws, and running our governments. Yet the protests that took place around the world after the inauguration of the American president show that the ‘ordinary person’ and the ‘man and woman in the street’ still have a voice and they will not be side-lined or silenced. They will be seen and heard.
In the three readings from our mass this Sunday, we read about God’s option and preference for the poor, the humble and the weak. Throughout the history of God’s people, it has been the poor, the weak and the ordinary who have been called and chosen to proclaim the Kingdom of God. It is the humble and lowly who take refuge and shelter in the Lord that the Prophet Zephaniah speaks of and highlights. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he warns them and us not to be come over confident with our own achievements and wisdom. God has a regular habit of choosing those who are weak and insignificant according to the standards of the world to show up those who appear to know it all and have everything. God breaks into our world through the most ordinary and seemingly unimportant people.
In the gospel we read about Mary, the young girl from small village who was chosen to become the mother of Jesus. We read about ordinary fishermen who were chosen to be his closest friends. We read about Mary Magdalene who was also part of this group and who first proclaimed the resurrection. We read about the Roman soldier, the leper, the blind, the crippled and the widow who gave all she had. These are the ones through whom God spoke and was heard. These were not important or powerful in the eyes of the world. But in God eyes they were the ordinary people whose words, actions and lives illumine the power and truth of the gospel. They are the people who are named and described in The Beatitudes.