“It’s not what happens to you that will determine how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.” ~ Zig Ziglar
In today’s Gospel, Jesus turns the world upside down. He tells people that they are blessed if they are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, and insulted. That doesn’t sound like anything that we would want, does it? He goes on to indicate that those who are rich, full, happy, and well liked are going to be in dire straits. Again, how does this fit into our sense of normalcy?
It doesn’t. That’s why I said that Jesus turned the world upside down. He challenged those who were well off and let those who were downtrodden know that God was going to be there for them. The well off were going to be in trouble because they counted on themselves too much and on God too little.
But, let’s not focus on the well off or the downtrodden. That takes the focus off of ourselves. Instead, let’s put the focus on us. Just who are we? How do we operate in the world? How do we treat others? How do we treat ourselves? That all hinges on who we trust. Do we trust God or the world?
If we take our cues from the world, we will place ourselves first and not care about the needs of others. That is not what the Lord wants of us. He wants us to care for others. The world tells us that others do not matter. God tells us that others are critically important.
Jeremiah, in today’s first reading, said “cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” If we look to the world for guidance, we might get ahead in the short term but lose ourselves in the process. This world is not our goal. We are not meant to be here forever. We are on the way to the Kingdom.
We will only enter the Kingdom if we live as God’s people. If we accept the responsibility to care for others, if we look out for the needs of the poor and the lonely, the hungry and the oppressed, we will show the Lord that we desire to live with Him for eternity. The Lord will look at our works and be greatly pleased.
“It’s not what happens to you that will determine how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.” Ziglar is so correct. We could be the poorest of the poor and yet be rich beyond belief. Rich, that is, in what is truly important: faith, hope, and love. God wants us to live in goodness that can only come from Him.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t focus on what you lack. Instead, focus on all that God has given to you and share what you have lovingly with others.