A reflection for the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg reflects on the readings for January 29, 2023.
Catholic Voices

Readings (Year A):

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12 – 13
Psalms 146:6 – 7, 8 – 9, 9 – 10
1 Corinthians 1:26 – 31
Matthew 5:1 – 12a

Reflection: God, make us a humble people

“You must be humble Vanesa, always remember to be humble.”

My mother would often repeat this phrase to me, reminding me in Spanish that humildad is part of the Christian journey, and that I must seek humility in all that I do and say. But, growing up, I struggled with the concept of humility. I was immersed in youth ministry programs, conferences, and retreats and often saw the opposite of humility. Instead of humility I saw people in the spotlight, applauded on stages. I saw the mark of being a good Christian teen as how much you cried in adoration, or how many of the songs you knew that the worship band at the conference was playing.

For so long, the mark of my Christian faith was not one of humility but one of pride: see me, hear me, applaud me, the good Christian teenager. But this way of life that marked my youth left me empty, and my pride consumed me in ways I didn’t know it could. I found myself using prayer to gossip about others, found myself using the gifts God gave me to seek out the spotlight instead of community. Over and over I sought out fame and recognition over justice and humility, a call that we hear in today’s first reading. Too often I have participated in empowering only the faith of those who are on the stage, those with the microphones, those who have established for themselves a level of fame and popularity in Christian circles.


Today the readings remind us of a Christ who aligns himself with, who lifts up, who empowers the meek and the lowly. The Beatitudes have served as a reminder of my mother’s phrase: we must be humble, we must remember to always be humble. It is not about just myself and Christ, but myself, Christ, and my relationship with a community of believers. It is not just about lifting up the gifts that we recognize instantly in others but seeing the gift of every member in our community and empowering them as siblings in Christ.

As we sit in our spaces this weekend and hear the voice of Christ through the words of the Beatitudes, I pray that it draws out action from each of us. Let these words awaken a realization of our own pride, and the space that it can take up. Let them encourage us to encounter humility within our own lives.

Humility and justice go hand in hand, and with this encounter may we also be courageous in standing with the meek and the lowly, in championing justice for others. May we mourn with those who grieve because of the direct or indirect challenges from political, economic, and social structures. May we rejoice with the peacemakers, and may our humility guide us to seek and give mercy to all in the same manner Christ shows us mercy. God, make us a humble people. 

About the author

Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg

Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg has worked in youth ministry for 13 years—as a youth minister, Franciscan Youth Volunteer, worship leader, and speaker. She received her bachelor's degree in theology from Providence College and her master's degree in theology and ministry from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, concentrating on how a Pentecost revival is occurring with the lives of Latinx youth in the Catholic Church.

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