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The Gift of Tears - Family Reflection Video

The Gift of Tears - Family Reflection Video

Learn more about our faith  |  Holy lives of inspiration

Luke’s version of the beatitudes sounds like an echo of Mary’s Magnificat when she meets Elizabeth. They both express a hope to be realized in the future.

Luke follows the beatitudes with the pronouncement of woes addressed to the disciples. They would be blessed or condemned depending on how they live their discipleship.

Christ followers who choose poverty and hunger, and share in the tears of people are indeed blessed. In contrast, they are no better than false prophets if they seek wealth, privileges, comforts, worldly pleasures, and a good name and fame.

The Latin word for beatitudes is Benedictus, which we translate as "blessed." We hear these phrases: "Blessed are those who are poor ... Blessed are those who hunger ... Blessed are those who weep …" Though they are blessed, these lines seem cruel.    

Pope Francis' encounter with young people at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines in January 2015 was one of the most touching moments of his visit. Children from different sectors of society gave testimonies at that gathering.

A young girl named Glyzelle Palomar gave a moving testimony. In my memory, she was an abandoned street child sold into prostitution. Having enumerated all of the difficulties she has experienced in life, she asked the Holy Father in Filipino, "Why does God allow these things to happen?” Glyzelle broke down at that moment.

Glyzelle spoke in Filipino, so Pope Francis didn't understand what was going on. After asking Cardinal Chito Tagle, Pope Francis approached Glyzelle and, without saying a word, enveloped her in a compassionate embrace. Later in his homily, Pope Francis said, "Certain realities in life we only see-through eyes that are cleansed with tears." As a parting message, the Pope encouraged everyone to ask God for the gift of tears.

The ability to weep is the ability to be compassionate, to be moved by another person's pain. The ability to shed tears is a sensitivity to the Gospel’s call to console the lonely, the call to blessedness.

The word console is derived from two Latin words, con, meaning to be with, and solus, meaning alone. To console therefore means to be with the one who is alone. Who are these people who are alone most of the time? The hungry, the poor, those who weep, and the hated. Those who can console others have the power to be with the one who is alone. Blessed are those willing to be with the one who is alone and isolated. That is what the Gospel praises as blessedness.

Blessedness is not being grateful and appreciative because you have so much abundance. Instead, to be truly blessed, is to console; to be with someone who is alone.

This word of Jesus is both a reassuring and challenging one for us today. We are reassured that when we are at our most vulnerable, the Lord is especially close to us. We are also being challenged to make present and tangible the Lord’s loving commitment to those who are most vulnerable among us.

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.