Today’s Gospel recounts how Jesus stood up in front of everyone and pronounced blessed all whom society had cast off, had deigned to be worth nothing. Among those singled out are the poor, the hungry, the excluded. And the Lord pronounces them blessed in their poverty, their hunger, their being excluded. Today we celebrate St. Peter Claver, a man who baptized slaves by the hundreds of thousands–and in so doing not only saved their souls but also their lives on earth, as those governing the lands knew better than to treat as inhuman anyone who had been baptized. Peter Claver stood up, like Jesus, and pronounced blessed those whom others counted as animals at best. Today we are called to do the same, to pronounce blessed even those much of our society sadly counts as nothing. Like the unborn, the poor, the immigrant, the troubled, the broken, the diseased. And we celebrate that God pronounces us blessed, even in the places in our lives we value to be the worst parts of us.