Today’s Gospel reading was the beatitudes.
This is from my homily for the day:
I used to think that the Beatitudes were merely paradoxical for a reason that was very far from reasonable. But after being a pilgrim in Madrid, Spain at World Youth Day, I have a new perspective.
We had to walk about three miles from the last metro stop to get to Quatro Vientos, the location of the final Mass with Pope Benedict XVI. It was so hot there in Spain. The temp was in the 90s, there was very little shade, and we were outside all day, and walking. We got to the air field (Quatro Vientos) without a problem. We walked across the air field to our area, C2. Just walking through the area where people were camping took about 15 minutes. It was a huge area, and there were so many people.
We got to our area, C2, and the volunteers said that the area was full. We had arrived about two hours early, but it wasn’t early enough. So we sat down for a while beside the barricade. Some of us were getting overheated. So, we made shade by tying three flags together. It wasn’t much but it helped. Meanwhile a group of about 20 walked up to the volunteers and were able to get in to the area. We were not happy about that. So, we decided to get in a few at a time. Some of our group started the covert opps to get in. But after one of our happy-go-lucky guys, Paul Conrad, said it was not working, we decided to try something else.
So, we decided to look for another place. The volunteers said to go back to area F, but when asked, they did not know if there was room even there. So we decided it was the best thing we could do. By this point even our calm members were beginning to be visibly irritated. Thanks be to God, after going back to section F, we found a place.
We were so far back. A stage the size of a football field looked like speck off in the distance.
That evening the pope came and began speaking to us. We could barely hear because the wind would often take the sound. It was almost all in Spanish and so I was trying to translate for people what I could. As the pope was speaking I could see large clouds forming in the distance. I told everyone to get ready for rain. We had about three ponchos. Not much, but it would have to do.
The wind picked up and even blew the pope’s zuchetto off. He left the stage as it started to rain. And the heavens let loose. With lighting and thunder we were pounded. Meanwhile we were screaming out the rosary huddled in the middle of a huge mass of unprotected people. We huddled together and prayed louder than the thunder. A clap of thunder came, and we prayed louder still.
The rain passed and the pope came back saying that God had heard our prayer that we were hot! We had adoration and we loved it. We couldn’t hear, we couldn’t see, but we were there.
We slept and the rain stayed away.
The next morning a woman announced that many would not be able to receive communion for many of the chapels reserving the Blessed Sacrament had been destroyed in the storm. And so we were not able to receive communion at Mass. One of the main things we had come to do was not possible.
So many things went wrong. But we were happy.
Maybe that’s what Jesus was trying to say: blessed (or happy) are you when everything goes wrong. That is the Christian message. And Jesus even says that those for whom everything goes right will not be happy. Hmmm.
When everything goes wrong for you, may the Lord give you complete happiness!