Why does the Lord bless the hungry and curse the satisfied? Why does He afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted?
St. Paul has a good answer when he exhorts us: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father.”
The Lord has promised us that if we seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, then all that we need to survive will be added unto us, also. But we cannot expect great surfeits of earthly delight. Just the survivable minimum.
To seek the ‘above’ things requires significant investments of time and energy. God demands a lot. He leaves the spiritually slothful to fester in their ennui. Meanwhile, He beckons His friends to daily encounters with Him in austere silence and in self-sacrificing labor.
Christ blesses the hungry not because He wills that anyone starve, but because when we concentrate on what He commands us to concentrate on, we quickly run out of time and leisure for settling into a lot of long banquets.
He blesses those who weep not because He wants anyone to feel bad, but because loving God a little allows us to see how much more we could love Him, if only the heartbreaking dunghill of our sin weren’t in the way.
Christ’s curses of the lazy, concupiscent, and proud help to keep us on-task. And His promises shine brighter than His curses. If we seek Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, we will ultimately be comforted, we will ultimately be satisfied, we will laugh in the kingdom of everlasting joy.
He sits above the clouds, where it never rains on Labor Day. He grills steaks to perfection without any fussing over charcoal and lighter fluid. We will have an endless temperate summer evening, without gnats and mosquitoes, when our work here is done.
In the meantime, let’s get ready to put our noses to the grindstone for the Lord. We have to get ourselves ready to say our parts of the Mass in more formal English. We have to educate our young people in our religion. We have to welcome and indoctrinate newcomers to our church. Between now and Christmas we are hardly going to have a free moment.
But we will have a good time working for the Lord, staying spiritually lean and mean. Working for God is more satisfying than sitting around watching soap-operas. May we glorify Him in our prayers and our deeds.