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Father Muench Says...

Challenge to be righteous: daily adventure

Sept. 24, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

So, how are you doing – that is with the memorization of the Beatitudes? 

We all have excuses, don’t we – too busy – too many distractions. Pope Francis continues to want us Catholics to memorize all of these Beatitudes.

So far, we have seen three – poor in spirit, those who mourn and the meek.

Now onto the next beatitude. Iit may seem curious to us all but it is rather simple – “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they will be satisfied.”

The physically hungry and thirsty have a need: they must find something to satisfy their need – in a hurry.  But Jesus knows that many others are spiritually in need.  To satisfy that need they must become righteous.  This will mean a change in life, a turning to the Lord, living in the love and spirit of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is Jesus’ message to us even today.  He tells us, “your life will be filled with happiness and holiness when you seek intensely the righteousness of the Lord.”

This beatitude is about conversion.  The story of many of the great saints of our Church has been the story of conversion.  Many were living lives far from the Lord yet, they knew something was lacking in their lives; they lacked happiness and love – they were empty.  Somehow, each in his or her own way discovered what was missing – they were missing the Lord. When they realized this, they went after it – like someone who is physically hungry or thirsty.

What does this mean for us? 

Our challenge to be righteous is a daily adventure.  We must be ready to change each day.  Each day is about the challenge to become holier and holier.  This is an effort that must have the determination of someone who longs to satisfy hunger.

This holiness is about living a strong and good life in the way of our Savior, Jesus.  Holiness is not about piety. It is about living a good and strong life of faith.  This holiness is reflected as an example that leads others to strive for this righteousness of the Lord.

Righteousness means a discovery of the plan of Jesus. Then comes obedience and adherence.  Faith opens us our hearts so that we realize this is the only way to happiness.  The problem is that too many do not believe – they don’t trust the way of Jesus.  They just don’t think it will lead to happiness and so they reject.

The hope is that there will be many whose lives have been transformed by the Lord will lead others to the Lord.  The spirit of the righteousness of Jesus should, even must, be so evident to others.

I just discovered this poem – “Jesus, the healer.”  Jesus leads us onto the road to righteousness. 

“I had a dream that I came to the Lord / trembling, ashamed, fearful and sad.  And I told him my tale of betrayals.  When I had finished, I continued to kneel there, waiting for the punishment I felt I richly deserved. But what did he do?  He rose from his chair, took some ointment, and said, ‘Let me dress your wounds.’  ‘What wounds?’ I asked, puzzled.  ‘I’m the one who has wounded others.’  But then in a flash I saw he was right.  I too was wounded, for to sin is to suffer.  Astonished by his mercy, I let him dress my wounds. Afterwards I went away airborne with joy. His sheer goodness made me feel that I too was good, and made me want to be like him.” 

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