The Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany

The anniversary of my mother’s death passed by this week. I don’t think I was morose or sad. I know that my Redeemer lives and the hope of the resurrection means that one day I’m sure I’ll meet her in the crowd of those unnumbered saints. However, perhaps I was pensive as I looked at a few family photos. Mum has been dead for 11 years and so she’s missed the weddings of grandchildren and the birth of her great grandchild among other things. She’s missed 4 Australian Prime Ministers, 3 British Prime Ministers, 2 American Presi-dents, but not 1 Queen – Her Majesty still reigns. My mother was very much a person of the 20th century (my father more so) and I knew when I could count and thought such things that I might spend more of my life in the 21st century. My parents dealt with economic de-pressions, recessions, and boom times; wars – a ‘world’ one and a cold one; fascism and communism; huge social changes (what was it that was said about the 1960s? … that ‘if you can remember it, you weren’t there!’?); and ‘man on the moon’ and emerging – shrink-ing! – technologies. My world flows from theirs – the economy fluctuates globally and algorithmi-cally; wars still happen – locally and now over such things as terror; communism ‘ended’ but politics still crashes from one side to the other; the social changes seem to be accelerating; peo-ple are technologically connected in ways that may redefine humanity and community; and long live the Queen! What will the world be like for my granddaughter who could quite possibly see the 22nd century? Good question!

We don’t pick the times and seasons of our lives. We are born into them. How we live will shape them. And because there is an empty tomb, our Gospel today, gives us things to do (no matter the century)!

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they perse-cuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-12 ESV)  — GS