6TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: (THE BEATITUDES) Lk 6:17, 20-26
In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches us “The Beatitudes” in order to help us to understand the values of how we must live as disciples of Jesus. When we practice the Beatitudes in our daily lives, we are truly blessed and our reward will be great in heaven. Each of the Beatitudes starts with the word “blessed,” which is translated to mean “happiness.” Jesus — in the Sermon on the Mount — shows that Jesus really wants us to possess true and lasting happiness, real happiness, that the world cannot give!
The Beatitudes are the way of Christian living and a road map for those, who seek to attain the happiness of the kingdom. The Beatitudes offer us a way of life and invite us to identify with the poor, those who mourn, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for justice. The Beatitudes challenge us to become compassionate persons, who are pure in heart, and to become peacemakers in our relationships with one another, in our families, and in our society at large.
Jesus promised: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”. To understand Jesus’s message here can be a little difficult, humanly speaking. Especially when we experience unexpected tragedies or the loss of our dear ones. In the last few days, I myself was going through a very painful and difficult time.
On Tuesday (2-8-2022) in the early morning, I received very sad news about The Adoration Sisters (SABS) who are working as nurses at one of the hospitals in Connecticut, USA. Three sisters, Brigit, Anila, and Leons were driving to the hospital for a night shift. While they were traveling, an opposing vehicle hit the sister’s car, and on the spot, Sr. Anila died. At the time, the weather conditions were very bad with rain and snow, very slippery, and poor visibility.
A couple of days ago, I was talking with one of the sisters, Sr. Alice, who was sharing this with me in tears; soon after they heard about this heartbreaking news, Sr. Noble and the other sisters from the convent reached the accident site. When they arrived, they saw the police take Sr. Anila’s body from the car. Sr. Leons had escaped with minor injuries, but the police were trying to release Sr. Brigit, who was still strapped into the driver’s seat, and in terrible condition.”
A couple of things struck me when I heard this painful story from Sr. Alice. The sisters were praying the rosary while they were driving and sister Anila, who was sitting in the back seat, was leading the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. As she reached the fifth decade, this accident occurred. The other thing that struck me is that the police officers told the sisters to please continue their prayers while they were taking Brigit from the car. I noticed that the sisters’ prayers at the incident spot and the faith of the police officers helped the sisters remain strong in the face of that dreadful situation.
Sr. Nirmal was sharing with me that as soon as this news spread… they received overwhelming support from many priests, nuns, and Indian friends from all over the country, who reached out to the convent with prayers and comforting words. In addition, their parish priests, deacon, and parishioners were all present, generously supporting and providing comfort. As a community of faith, meeting all of the needs of the sisters; especially comforting sisters Bright and Leone”
I shared this painful incident with Fr. Sannella, the pastor of The Immaculate Conception Parish, and he listened to me with sadness and pain, and Fr. Sannella said only one word, “God has some special plan for each of us.” This is very true, and I totally believe it.! I am wondering…. How do we survive such unbearable tragedy and keep living life? This is really a good question. I will say this is – through God alone! So, rejoice through the sorrow, for as Psalm 30: 5 promises …. Weeping may endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning!
I was able to attend the funeral Mass of Sr. Anila with hundreds of people including bishops, provincials, priests, religious nuns, and many faithful people. It was inspiring and graceful! During the homily, the pastor said, Sr. Anila “Sr. Anila love praying the Hail Mary, and she was full of grace, and she was blessed.” Sr. Rani shared that “God loved Sr. Anila and Sr. Anila loved God.” I am sure Sr. Anila is an angel, and she is interceding from heaven for her family and all her religious community back in India! Let us pray for Brigit, Leons, and their religious community sisters in Connecticut.
Let us ask ourselves: “Are we going to be happy in the understanding of the world or in the understanding of Jesus’ way?” Let us experience real happiness here at present and the same happiness we will experience in eternal life!