A Gentle, Comforting God.

Monday 12 June 2023 Week 10 in Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 1:1-7
From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, one of the brothers, to the church of God at Corinth and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a gentle Father and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows, so that we can offer others, in their sorrows, the consolation that we have received from God ourselves. Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so, through Christ, does our consolation overflow. When we are made to suffer, it is for your consolation and salvation. When, instead, we are comforted, this should be a consolation to you, supporting you in patiently bearing the same sufferings as we bear. And our hope for you is confident, since we know that, sharing our sufferings, you will also share our consolations.

Psalm 33 Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Matthew 5:1-12
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven: this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’


What a beautiful description Paul gives of God, “a gentle Father and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows”. So often we pastors, preachers, or Christians present God so very differently, a God angry or disappointed with us, a God who expects us to be holy and sinless, a God separate from our sorrows and difficulties. Paul on the other hand reminds us just as we are loved by a gentle loving father, so too we should love in the same way, with gentleness, comfort and consolation.

The Gospel also echoes the same sentiments, reminding us of the qualities that Christian life embodies, and the joy and happiness that comes from such beatitudes.

Benedict XVI wrote that the individual beatitudes describe the actual condition of the disciples: they are poor, hungry, weeping men; they are hated and persecuted…and despite the concrete threatening situation, this becomes a promise when you look at it with the provident light which comes from the Father who is gentle and comforting.

Paul connects our blessing and happiness with our suffering, and with the suffering of Jesus. This is the paradox of the Christian Gospel, that Jesus suffered and died, but passed through death into life and into the joy of life everlasting. For us also our sorrows will turn to joy when we pass through them and keep our gaze fixed on the God of the beatitudes.

We have had many saints and inspiring people who though victims of great suffering have continued to retain the joy and lightness, the peace and purpose, of those who live within the reign of God. You see it written on their faces, and they recognise that the comfort they receive, id for them an example of the confort which they will in turn share with others.
We give praise and thanksgiving for the gentle and consoling Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.