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Souls On Fire

Happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Zephaniah 2:3;3:12-13; Psalm 146:6-10; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12

Sermon Week Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 5:3

Elie Wiesel, the great humanitarian and distinguished author, makes a powerful statement on human growth in his book, "Souls on Fire." In it, he suggests that when we die and go to meet our Maker, we're not going to be asked why we didn't become a great religious leader or why we didn't find a cure for cancer. Instead, we will be asked, "Why didn't you become you?" (Why didn't you use your God-given gifts to grow into the kind of full human being God intended for you to be?)

God has many remarkable ways of illustrating the growth process. For instance, in the case of the Chinese bamboo tree, the seed is planted, watered, fertilized, and for the first four years, there is no visible growth. Amazingly, however, during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree grows ninety feet in just six weeks. Think about it. Did the tree really take five years to begin growing? Not at all. Although growth was not visible, the root system experienced tremendous development during those first four years, thereby making it possible for the Chinese bamboo to stand tall and sturdy and secure and become what it is meant to be in the natural order of things.

And so, it is with our own personal growth. Jesus tells us, over-and-over again in the Gospels, for us to experience spiritual growth, for us to grow and develop into the kind of person we are meant to be, we must acknowledge our absolute, total dependence on God -- not only for who we are but also for what we are to become. In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus is telling us, "Happy are the poor in spirit," He says, "for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt. 5:3).

How happy are the poor in spirit who acknowledge their absolute, unconditional dependence on God. Over-and-over again, we hear it, in one way or another, right here in this place of worship: the good life is available to those who are willing to come under God's Rule, those who are eager to embrace the way [...]

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