God’s blessings aren’t always things that might spring to mind when we think of blessings we would like. For example, we might not think that those who are meek and those who mourn are blessed. And we certainly wouldn’t celebrate the blessings of those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, would we? It’s even more challenging when we remember that the word “blessed” in Scripture could also be translated as “happy.” Would we think of those people as happy? Probably not, but God does.
Paul and Timothy in our first reading write to the people of the Church at Corinth that, when they are afflicted – as they surely were! – it was for the Church’s encouragement and salvation. Paul knew well that following Christ meant going to the Cross. Paul saw the blessing in suffering for the sake of Christ. He realized that suffering, for him, it probably meant death, but for all of us, it means some kind of mortification, some kind of sacrifice.
Today we celebrate a votive Mass of the Precious Blood of Jesus. This Mass calls to mind the saving sacrifice of Jesus, in which his most Precious Blood was poured out for us. That blood washes away the sins of the whole world, yes, our sins too, if we let him, if we join our sufferings to his. The salvation won at the immense cost of the Precious Blood of Jesus is a blessing that should never be taken for granted.
So it’s important for us to remember, I think, that while God never promises to make our lives free and easy, he does promise to bless us. He will bless us with whatever gifts we need to do the work he has called us to do, the work for which he formed us in our mother’s womb. We may be reasonably happy in this life, but the true happiness must come later. Our reward, which Jesus promises will be great, will surely be in heaven.
May the Precious Blood of Jesus keep us safe for eternal life.