Tuesday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time: Simplicity of Life

Today's readings

My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.

We should be careful not to take this as Jesus downplaying the importance of Mary. We know that he deeply cared for and loved his mother. What he is doing here, though, is forging a deep relationship with those who hear the word of God and act on it. Those people are truly family to Jesus, part of the assembly of his brothers and sisters. We should all strive to be placed in this great company.

And today it is the book of Proverbs that speaks to us about how we can accomplish this. The text gives us practical examples of the word of God. The wise person, the one who would be in the family of Jesus, is one who strives for righteousness and justice, avoids haughtiness and pride, is diligent and honest, is compassionate, avoids arrogance and instead pursues simplicity and integrity, one who hears the cry of the poor.

The Liturgy's words to us today are simple, brothers and sisters in Christ, but in some ways very challenging. To live simple and honest lives with integrity and justice, and to reach out to those in need – all of that is the Gospel's challenge in a nutshell. And those of us who would strive to be the brothers and sisters of Jesus are called to pursue that kind of life.

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time: It’s all about kenosis

Today's readings

In some ways, it's the classic schoolyard disagreement.  "My dad can beat up your dad."  Or, even better, maybe it's the classic sibling rivalry: "Mom likes me best."  These things are sort of understandable among children.  Children growing up need to know where they fit in to the structure of society, so there are a lot of comparisons going on all the time.  But when that kind of argument begins to take place among adults, it loses all its charm.  When that kind of disagreement happens among disciples, it begins to become sinful.

In today's Gospel, Jesus has just told his disciples what, up to now, has been a secret of his life among them.  He is to be arrested, killed, and to rise again.  The disciples of course had no idea what he meant.  They thought of him as the Messiah, and in their notion of what the Messiah was, that kind of end didn't fit in at all.  They expected the Messiah to reign triumphant and restore primacy to Israel.  The Messiah was not to suffer and die.  Yet that, Jesus says, is exactly the kind of Messiah that he was to be.  They also did not understand about him rising from the dead.  The notion of life after death was not widely accepted at that time, so we can certainly excuse them from that.  All in all, it would take Jesus' actual death and Resurrection before the disciples would understand any of this at all.

But what is most surprising about today's Gospel is that, given that they did not understand what Jesus was talking about, they didn't bother to ask him what he meant.  Maybe they had gotten used to some of Jesus' words going over their heads.  Maybe they were afraid of the Teacher's rebuke.  Whatever the reason, they decided to let it go.  But what happens next is what is most unfortunate.  Instead of seeking clarification on an important issue for their discipleship, they have an argument about who was the greatest among them!  It's one thing not to understand, but quite another to let it go and then act like children.

Jesus, however, is the Good Teacher, and uses the opportunity not to rebuke them – although they certainly deserved a rebuke – but instead to teach them the importance of kenosis.  Kenosis is Greek for "self-emptying" or pouring out, as in a libation or drink-offering.  And this is what ties the second half of the Gospel reading together with the first half.  Jesus was going to have to empty himself by laying down his life.  Just so, the disciple would have to empty him or herself by becoming the last of all and the servant of all.  In this instruction, Jesus turns the whole social ranking system upside-down.  He places a child among them.  A child in that society had no rights or status whatsoever.  Women and children only had the status or rights given by the men in society, a husband or father.  But Jesus says that it is only by becoming a child, that is, by pouring out oneself, that one has status in the Kingdom of God.  Only the one who is the last of all and the servant of all can become the greatest of all.

The readings today talk about righteousness, that is, a right relationship with God and others that comes from an interior quality of transparency, integrity and grace.  It would turn the whole schoolyard disagreement upside down if children were to argue: "My father is more righteous than your father."  Or, "My mother has more integrity than your mother."  But the fact is, righteousness matters very little to anyone these days.  Think about what we do value: people who entertain us, even by their own misdeeds; athletic ability, even if the person needs some steroids or illicit substances to get there; political power, even if there is corruption behind it.  I think about the rather unfortunate person of Lance Armstrong who was lauded for his ability to overcome cancer and win several Tours de France, but immediately turned away from the wife who was faithful to him during his battle with cancer the moment she contracted cancer herself.  Will we remember his lack of righteousness, or will we more likely remember his cycling triumphs?

If righteousness is hardly valued, the first reading indicates that righteousness is hardly tolerated.  The just one, whoever it is, has accused the members of his or her own community of their own lack of righteousness.  They have been accused of violating the law and turning away from the way they had been taught.  Rather than calling them back to their senses, this has angered them and caused them to consider doing violence to the just one.  Yes, the just one could withstand the shameful death the others planned, because God would care for the just one.  This leads me to a point that I made in my lecture to the CREEDS group this past week.  One of my instructors used to tell us that we must always love what Jesus loved when he was on the Cross, and despise what Jesus despised while he hung there in agony.  If God would care for the just one, then we disciples had better care for him or her too.  And, we disciples had better listen to that just one, even if the just one's teaching means a change in our behavior and way of life.

The second reading from the letter of St. James makes this all very practically clear.  Righteousness leads to a wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity or anything of that sort.  Righteousness leads to true peace.  It is the lack of righteousness that leads to wars of all sorts.  Covetousness, envy, violence, fighting and war – all these are the result of forgetting righteousness and not attaining the kind of wisdom that comes from that right relationship with God and others.  And all of this nonsense is ultimately unfulfilling.  Listen to James again:

You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Will all of this bickering and fighting ever get us anyplace?  No, because all of this is "asking wrongly," out of passion instead of righteousness.

What will it take, then, for us to start getting this right?  How will we ever achieve peace in our world, peace in our communities, peace in our families and peace in our hearts?  What will it take to become the first of all, to attain real greatness in the Kingdom of God?  "If anyone wishes to be first, he or she shall be the last of all and the servant of all."  It's all about kenosis, brothers and sisters in Christ.  We have to realize that our salvation will only come about by pouring out our lives for our brothers and sisters.  We may think we can become number one by looking out for number one only.  We may think we can get ahead by tending to our own interests first and foremost.  But Jesus tells us today that quite the opposite is true.  To become number one, to really get ahead, we must serve all of our brothers and sisters.  We must lay down our lives in every way possible and raise up others whenever we see them down.  Getting this right, becoming truly righteous, will involve us tending to the needs of others first and foremost, knowing that God will take care of the just one.

Friday of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time: Women of Faith

Today’s Readings

What would happen if Christ never rose from the dead? Well, I doubt we would be here today, because as important as Christ’s living and preaching was, it is the Resurrection that gives meaning to it all. This is why it’s important to know that we cannot, as some suggest, do all our praying by looking at nature or meditating by ourselves. We need to hear the proclamation of the kerygma, that is, the message of the Gospel and of salvation, if we are ever to know God’s presence. As beautiful as nature can be, it’s nothing compared to looking at the face of Jesus. As nice as meditating is, we have to have something real to meditate on, or we’ll never rise above our own foolishness.

Today we get a wonderful little look at those who were the first proclaimers of the Risen Christ: the women who were his disciples. We need to thank God for Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and the others, who were the first witnesses to the Resurrection, and the first to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is risen. If not for them, we may not be here today. Think too of all the women whose testimony and urging have proclaimed the faith throughout the ages. I think of St. Augustine’s mother, St. Monica, who urged her son and prayed tirelessly to God for his conversion. I think of my own grandmothers and mother who first taught me the faith. I think of Sr. Merita who taught my fourth grade religious education class. Think of all the women religious in all the schools and parishes throughout the years. Think of all the women in our families who have faithfully passed on the Gospel to their sons and daughters. Thank God for all these wonderful witnesses who have assured that we know the Truth, and who by their living have passed on the faith and have led us to the forgiveness of our sins.

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Today’s readings

st-matthew

I often wish that I could see in people the same things that Jesus sees. Obviously, Matthew was not qualified for the role of apostle, but he was called anyway. Matthew was, as we know, a tax collector. Tax collectors in those days tended to be rather unscrupulous. They would have assigned to them people from whom to collect a tax, and they would be charged a certain amount by the government to be paid by the people assigned to them. Anything they could collect above and beyond that was theirs to keep. So tax collectors were seen as greedy and usurious, collecting taxes far beyond what people should have been required to pay.

So it’s hard to blame the Pharisees for being taken aback at Jesus dining with tax collectors and other sinners. But Jesus could see beyond all that. First, he saw that these people were willing to be healed of their sins and infirmities. The Pharisees had their own spiritual ailments, of course, but they were unwilling to address them. Matthew and the others were. But second, Jesus also saw something in Matthew that said he would be a good leader and preacher. He obviously was, because we have the Gospel that bears his name as the fruit of his labor.

Wouldn’t it be great, then, to see people as Jesus does? To get beyond the things that are others’ rough edges, even beyond all the things about others that can really annoy us. What a gift it would be to see straight into the hearts of all of them, and to love them for the gifts they were created to be! My prayer is always that I can see others and love others as Jesus does. If we all did that, think how many Matthews there would be, all proclaiming the Gospel!

Ss. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang & Companions, Martyrs

Today’s Feast | Today’s readings

Korea was introduced to Christianity in the late 1500s when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers who invaded Korea at that time. It was not until the late 1700s that a priest managed to sneak into Korea, and when he did, he found about 4000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were over ten thousand Catholics.

In the 1800s, Andrew Kim became the first native Korean to become a priest when he traveled 1300 miles to seminary in China. He managed to find his way back into the country six years later. When he returned home, he arranged for more men to travel to China for studies. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded.

St. Paul Chong was a lay apostle who was also martyred. During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866 and 1867, 103 members of the Christian community gave their lives for the faith. These included some bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay people, including men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people and the elderly. They were all canonized by Pope John Paul II during a visit to Korea in 1984.

All of these men and women were convinced of the “still more excellent way” that St. Paul talks about in today’s first reading. Love for God and one another must consume every disciple, so that every day is an opportunity to lay done one’s life, literally or figuratively, to preach the Gospel.

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

One of the things I have always enjoyed is reading a good mystery novel. My mother was a big fan of mysteries, especially Agatha Christie, and she passed the love for that on to me as I was growing up. I still love to read mysteries today, and when I’m not reading them, I’m usually watching shows like Law & Order or CSI – I enjoy these because of the mysteries that unfold just watching them. I remember in high school, the theater club was staging Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, and they checked the books out of the libraries around town so nobody would read ahead and find out who did it! I had already read the book, of course, but it was great fun to see it on stage. I think what I love about mysteries is the opportunity to keep guessing at the solution right up to the very end, and the process of learning new things about the characters all along the way. If you like mysteries too, then you know a really good mystery is one that isn’t solved all in the first six pages.

Today’s readings are a wonderful source of the mystery that still is part of our Church. In the first reading, the figure speaking is commonly referred to as “the Suffering Servant,” a figure that is later identified with Jesus. Whoever the figure is, he or she has incredible faith. One might expect that faith to be rewarded, but it’s not. Instead, his back is beaten, his beard is plucked, and his face is buffeted and spat upon. Yet, he continues to have faith, setting his face, knowing that he will not be put to shame. Maybe you have met a person who has gone through incredible trials like unemployment, family strife, or serious illness, and has remained faithful. If you know a person like that, don’t you just sense a little bit of Jesus working in that person?

In the second reading, St. James tells us that our faith must be living, or it is not faith at all. He has seen far too many people who will say nice things to people and claim to have faith, but refuse to help alleviate anyone’s real needs. “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well” are nice-sounding words, but are actually meaningless when spoken to people who have personal problems, no place to live and keep warm, and little if anything to eat. James’s faith is one that sees the great mystery of Christ’s presence in those who are in need. We have the same challenges today, of course. There are many who are needy among us, and we disciples are called to a living faith that reaches out to those in need. Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to work at a soup kitchen or a shelter, or go on a mission trip. If you’ve done that, maybe you have seen the face of Christ in those you’ve served.

The Gospel continues the theme of mystery by asking the question point-blank: “who do you say that I am?” The people of Jesus’ time, the disciples included, were constantly trying to figure him out. Peter seems to have figured out one of the clues: Jesus is the Messiah. But he totally misses the boat on what kind of Messiah Jesus is to be. When Jesus talks about the necessity of his suffering and death, Peter just can’t wrap his mind around it. Jesus’ response to Peter is that to really know who Jesus is, Peter needs to think like God, not like a human being. The strangeness of this mystery is so great that it applies not just to Jesus, but also to anyone who would want to follow him. Disciples like us must take up our cross: if we wish to save our lives, we must give them away. This is a very great mystery indeed.

We Catholics believe that the mystery all started with the Incarnation: with Jesus’ coming into the world. The mystery continued with his death, resurrection and ascension. We all know the situation well. Throughout history, our ancestors turned away from God time and time again. As a result, there was a great chasm of sin and death that separated us from God, and we had no hope. But then Jesus was born among us. He did not come with great fanfare and splendor, but as a poor little baby, born to an everyday couple. He grew up and walked among us; he lived our life and experienced all of our joys and sorrows, all of our happiness and pains. He eventually died our death, but that was not to be the end of the story. He rose from the dead and appeared to many believers. Finally, he ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us in his kingdom, where sadness, death, and pain are forever banished. We call all of this the “Paschal Mystery.”

But here’s what makes this even more mysterious. We don’t just believe that this happened at one time, two thousand years ago. We believe that it happened and is happening in all time: the Incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are happening throughout all time, for all of us. And every single celebration of the Eucharist does not just remember that great mystery that happened once upon a time, every single celebration of the Eucharist makes that great event present once again, right here among us. That’s why it is so important to gather every week for Mass, and not just when we have time to work it in. What could possibly be more important than celebrating the Eucharist, which makes the presence of Christ and his Paschal Mystery present in our lives?

The Church teaches that, when we gather for Mass, Christ is present in four ways. First, he is present in the gathered community. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that “wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, I am there among you.” We are the face of Christ for one another. We bring his presence to one another by greeting one another, by worshipping together, and by serving with and for one another. Second, Jesus is present in the Word proclaimed. Literally. The words we hear are not just words about Jesus, those words are Jesus. When the community gathers and retells the story of our salvation, Christ is present. Third, Jesus is present in the minister. The priest stands in persona Christi Capitas: that is, in the person of Christ the Head. The priest makes Christ present by administering the sacraments and proclaiming the Gospel. Also, whenever any of us takes on a ministry and serves others, that person makes Christ present to others in some way. Fourth, Jesus is present in the sacraments, but most especially in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ our Savior, body and blood, soul and divinity. When we come forward to receive the Bread of Life and Cup of Life, we receive our God who is life itself. The mystery of the Incarnation, of the presence of Christ, is experienced every time the community gathers, proclaims the word, ministers to one another, and receives the Eucharist.

This presence of Christ among us is a true mystery, but also a great gift. It is the presence of Christ in us and around us that enables us to embrace suffering. Children embrace suffering every time they refuse to join in making fun of another child, or when they reach out to another person who’s having a bad day, or when they share with those who don’t have the things they do. Teens embrace suffering when they choose not to take part in a gathering where there will be alcohol or drugs, even when their friends are all going. Adults embrace suffering when they give up a promotion in favor of spending more time with their family. Seniors embrace suffering when they sit at the bedside of a spouse or friend in the last days of their lives together. Our lives are filled with all kinds of suffering, and suffering is not good in and of itself. It is only when we choose to go through it with faith, a faith rooted in the Incarnation and Paschal Mystery of Christ, a faith that comes from Christ being in us and around us, it is only then that suffering is redemptive. Because it is only God who can give us the grace to make it through the suffering, and only God that can help us to find life in the death of our pain.

The psalmist sums it all up for us today. Yes, the suffering in our lives leads us to experience the cords of death that encompass us. We often fall into distress and sorrow. But when we embrace that suffering and call on the Lord, we will find ourselves freed of death and able to walk before the Lord in the land of the living. We who have embraced and remembered and celebrated the mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives, in our Church and in our world can approach suffering with great faith. There’s a contemporary Christian song that says “sometimes he calms the storm, and other times he calms his child.” God won’t always make our tears and pain go away. But he does promise that we will never go through them alone. We will probably never completely figure Christ out this side of the Kingdom. The disciples didn’t and we won’t either. But when we enter into the mystery, we can keep turning the pages and finding more and more clues. When we enter the mystery, we can look forward to the great unveiling of the solution when we enter our heavenly reward.

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

Today's readings

I remember building sand castles as a kid. There was always a price to pay for laying the foundation of it too near the water. It might go well for a while, but one good wave, and all my hard work would be washed away. The same is true for our spiritual lives, as we are told in the Gospel. Perhaps for a while we are offering our prayers on the run, not really taking time to be with the Lord. That might work okay for a while, but all it takes is the wave of one good trial or crisis, and everything we think we've built up is gone. We find ourselves lost, scattered by the disarray of our spiritual lives. Building that firm foundation is extremely important, and it's something we can never fake.

St. Cornelius knew that well. He was elected pope after a 14 month vacancy in the office, because of all the infighting in the Church at the time. He had to mediate many crises, most especially the heresy of Novationism, which denied that anyone who sinned could be reconciled. Because of his stand, his detractors elected the first anti-pope, and had Cornelius exiled to Civitavecchia, where he died as a result of his exile. His friend, St. Cyprian, a bishop, was also involved in the Novation controversy. He too was exiled in the persecution of Valerian, and martyred on September 14, 258.

We honor Saints Cornelius and Cyprian today, two men who built their faith on solid foundation. With that foundation, they were able to withstand heresies, persecution, exile and martyrdom, and come at last to the heavenly kingdom. May we, like them, build our spiritual lives on firm foundation so that we may withstand whatever persecutions life may bring our way.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today’s Feast | Today’s Readings

ourladyofsorrowsIn the very early morning hours of September 15th last year, I got a page on my fire department pager. I looked at the page, which told me that they were responding to a vehicle accident, but they were asking for fire-medics and not a chaplain. So I deleted the page and went back to bed. At 7:00am, I went to the chapel for Mass, at which time I found out the details of that page I got earlier in the morning. Four seminarians had been returning from off campus, and were involved in an accident on our property, across the lake from the school. The rector announced that one of the students, Matty Molnar, had been killed in the accident, and that another, Jared Cheek, was critically injured. Jared died the following day.

You can imagine the shock to our relatively small community. The details of the incident unfolded in the days and weeks following the accident, but information alone did not make us feel any better. The significance of the accident happening on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was not lost on us, and the celebrant’s homily, a homily he prepared the day before the accident, could not have been more fitting if it had been planned that way. There were few, if any, dry eyes in the chapel that day, which is really striking when you consider it was a room full of mostly men who don’t often show that kind of emotion.

Today, we offer a mass of memorial for Matty and Jared. We might also remember the many loved ones from each of our families who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith. Mary reaches out to us in our sorrow today, she who knew well the sorrows that life could bring. Just as Jesus reached out to her from the Cross, entrusting her to the care of his beloved disciple, so he reaches out to us in our own sorrows, entrusting us to the care of those among us who are his beloved disciples. Mary is our intercessor in the sorrows of this life, and our leader into the joys of the life to come.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today’s feast | Today’s readings

Theologian Bob Barron tells about an interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Buddhists. At one point, one of the Buddhists said to him, “Why is that obscene image on every wall in your buildings?” He was, of course, referring to the Cross. The Buddhist explained that it would be considered a mockery in his religion to venerate the very thing that killed their leader. The truth is, of course, that it is obscene. It is strange, and Barron wrote a whole book about it called The Strangest Way .

sandamianocrossAnd we all must have thought about this at one time or another. Why is it that God could only accomplish the salvation of the world through the horrible, brutal, and lonely death of his Son? That question goes right to the root of our faith. We know that we had been alienated from God, separated by a vast chasm of sin and death. Jesus becomes incarnate, is born right into the midst of all that sin and death. He walks among us, and goes through all of the sorrows and pains of life and death right with along with us. If sin and death have been the obscenities that have kept us from God, then God was going to use those very things to bring us back. Jesus comes into our world and dies our death because God wants us to know that there is no place we can go, no experience we can have that is outside of God’s reach.

Today’s feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, also called the Triumph of the Cross, was celebrated very early in the Church’s history. In the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman. The cross immediately became an object of veneration.

About this great feast, St. Andrew of Crete wrote: “Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.”

Because of the Cross, all of our sadness has been overcome. Disease, pain, death, and sin – none of these have ultimate power over us. Just as Jesus suffered on that Cross, so we too may have to suffer in the trials that this life brings us. But Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us, a place where there will be no more sadness, death or pain, a place where we can live in the radiant light of God for all eternity. Because of the Cross, we have hope, a hope that can never be taken away.

The Cross is indeed a very strange way to save the world, but the triumph that came into the world through the One who suffered on the cross is immeasurable. As our Gospel reminds us today, all of this happened because God so loved the world.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

St. John Chrysostom

Today's Readings

John Chrysostom was a desert monk, living a harshly ascetical life, but a life that was fulfilling for him.  After twelve years of service as a priest in Syria, he was brought to Constantinople in an imperial ruse to make him bishop.  Even though the beginnings of his episcopal service were thus clouded in intrigue, his service as a bishop in one of the most important sees of the Eastern Church was incredible.  He quickly made efforts to clean up the Church, deposing bishops who had bribed their way into office, and refusing to become beholden to any political authorities.  His preaching was the hallmark of his service.  He was called "golden-mouthed" and his sermons were steeped in great knowledge of the Scriptures and spiritual insight.  Some of his sermons were over two hours!  (But, don't worry, I'll try to keep this one under an hour or so…)  He tended to be aloof, but energetic and outspoken, especially in the pulpit.  Soon he began to draw ire from the politically powerful, and was falsely accused of heresy.  The Empress Eudoxia finally had him exiled, and he died in exile in the year 407.

John Chrysostom was a great preacher of today's Gospel reading.  Against the politically powerful and those who bought their place in society, he preached "woe to you who are rich, woe to you who are filled now, woe to you who laugh."  Against religious leaders who were beholden to the politically powerful, he preached "woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."  Far more significant, though, is that he lived the beatitudes, and lived as one who was truly blessed when "people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil."  He knew that the most important judge of his ministry did not sit on an earthly throne, but rather had Kingship in heaven.  And he knew that even death in exile was not too great a price to receive the heavenly reward.

Our task is to live those beatitudes well.  We are blessed when we are poor, because the riches of God are incomparable.  We are truly blessed when we hunger, because only God can really fill us.  We are blessed when we grieve, because God can comfort us and give us true peace.  We are blessed when people hate us, because God's love is beyond all price.  There is a price to pay for all this blessedness, of course.  We may, like John Chrysostom, suffer the ill thoughts of others.  We may not have everything we hunger for in this life.  But we must be confident that living the Beatitudes will lead us to the rejoicing and leaping for joy of which Jesus speaks today.