Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The poor in spirit are detached from this world’s attachments (wealth, power, means and resources). Being detached from this world they concentrate on things that matter – things of the spirit. People cannot serve two masters: being attached to one they despise the other. Therefore, once they leave this world attachments lead them either to the kingdom of heaven, or, to the other place.
One does not need to be in a state of “poverty”to realise the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven lies in the doing of God’s will and seeking the perfection Christ directed us to. It does not matter how rich or poor one may be, its the attachment to things created that draws people away from God and God’s will. Therefore, happy the person that sees things of the world as objects of love and respect, only in so much that they provide the means and disposition for a greater love – the source and object of all our love.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Comfort thyself! What comfort is in me? I have lived my life and that which I have done may He within Himself make pure.” Through Arthur, Tennyson expresses the wisdom of The Beatitudes.
We are exhorted to love and pray for the poor. It is no fault of their’s that they are born into the condition where they mourn each day of hunger, disease, squaller, lack of shelter and security. Christ accepts that we will always have the poor with us. It tests those that mourn and us too. In whatever condition we find ourselves, we must strive to be perfect. Christ came among the poor, and felt compassion for those that mourned; performing great miracles to provide comfort and relief. It is a lesson for us that we remember that we are here only for a short while. What we suffer is only temporary, compared to the eternal reward that awaits us if we dedicate ourselves to doing God’s will here on earth. The thought provides hope for those who believe – a comfort in itself to otherwise hopeless sufferers.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
The meek? The gentle, quiet, submissive; those easily imposed upon. Jesus shows the qualities even though he was divine. He showed all these qualities. Still, his enemies persecuted him.It shows that meekness is not a sign of weakness , but is engendered with qualities that challenge the values of the world. Jesus did not claim greatness, nor, equality with God. He submitted to live as a servant and to die the death of a criminal rather than please those in power (and went against the will of God).
He submitted to the baptism of John so that righteousness could be served. Yet. His power was there for all to see. The lame walked, people born blind received sight, paralytics moved freed through the Lord’s intercession. He even raised the dead. Still people would not believe. But rather, treated him unfairly and put him to death as a criminal. Even at the penultimate moment he called to the Father,” Not my will, but yours be done”. A lesson in submission and obedience to the will of God.
He taught simple fishermen to become fishers of men. In spreading the simple message of Jesus his disciples brought others into the kingdom of God – thus inheriting the world. A world that is opposed the devil; his pomp and trumpeted vanities. It might seem a parallel world (one that does not appeal to many), but it outlasts vanities and is the corner stone to the new Jerusalem: the fulfilment of all desires.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
We receive the charism of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. For most it is washed away by life’s trials and vanities. For others it lands on fertile soil, and the infant voice is nourished till it matures into a hunger and thirst for righteousness. One cannot rest until one rests again in the bosom of the Lord our Creator. Life becomes a desert land, a journey through anguish and aridity. It means forsaking the pleasures and allurements of this world and denying one’s self relief or shelter – only the oasis of living waters satisfies this thirst. These are consolations handed down by God Himself along the way. Unlike the manna that came down during the Exodus, this nourishment satisfies both body and soul. Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone; he needs the word of God to nourish him. In a real way, Jesus does not offer words alone, but offers his own body and blood to nourish us as we walk our way through life.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
“Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy”, are words we pronounce so often, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. These and other words we say, seem to come from deep within us. But, how often do we utter them “meaningfully”? We demand of the Lord so many things as though we are entitled to them – no strings attached. True. God’s mercy is full of unconditional love – it is like His rain that falls on the just and sinners alike. But, this generation of quick fixes and immediate satisfaction, is like a child that constantly cries, “I want”, and expects the parents to accede to the whim promptly. We seem to forget that love is a two way road. God loves us, but He wants us also to love Him in return. He created all things with no other consideration than Love. The greatest way to glorify Him is to love Him and His creation in return.
This love that we receive unconditionally should flow to other creatures in order to glorify the Creator. How can we say we love the creator without showing similar love for the objects of His love and creation? “Love one another”, says the Lord. And. the greatest expression of love is through mercy. We want God’s mercy; we must show an equal measure of mercy to our neighbours and indeed to all creation – a moral justification and expectation for God’s mercy. We can expect, as the Gospel tells us, that God will return the mercy with equal generosity; cup full for a cup full, according to the period belief in reward and punishment. But, Jesus has always taught to go beyond legal prescriptions – to love unconditionally and express that love wholeheartedly and beyond bounds.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God
I take exception to the current use of the word “ Gay” because it distorts and corrupts a word that signified innocence and joy. Reminded me of cherub faces and damsels dancing on a bright summer’s day. It will never be the same again. Now, for me, it represents narcissism, self-aggrandisement, and corruption of the flesh. Sure, hubris is as old as humanity itself. Those of means have been the worst offenders because they could be more inventive in challenging the establishment and the status quo – indeed they have taken pride in the ability to influence and change what’s fashionable. Brings to mind the rich man whose table crumbs were food for poor Lazarus.
Children are the purest. Therefore, Jesus asked us to be innocent and guileless like little ones. In their innocence they are able to see and also receive wisdom not given to the mature and worldly wise. They represent the pristine bliss enjoyed by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. They do as they are told, enjoy simple things and do not care if they wander among strangers without their clothes on. Withdrawn from the world, they experience God within their own cocoons. Indeed, ignorance is bliss when it’s folly to be wise.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
The world is sorely in need for peacemakers. Some places are plagued by openly declared armed conflict. In some others there are covert acts of terrorism. In almost all parts of the world people live under the threat of violence. Politically motivated voices fill the air ( some in direct conflict with views held in another quarter). Sometimes I wonder if messages coming from the Vatican too are tinted and partisan. All wars are justified by the contestants. So, can there be peace in the world?
The greatest pacifist and prince of peace was not recognised by this world. In fact the rulers and soldiers put him to death. Undaunted, from the cross, his near last words were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. He was the Son of God. For this he came into the world. He reminded us that to be his disciples we needed to follow his example through all that the world throws at us. In becoming perfect we reassume our heritage as sons (daughters) of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Persecutions? Who has persecuted more righteous in the last 1000 years? That said. Persecution has been the privilege of the faithful. The Holy Father says to be evangelists is not easy; people persecute you and even the outcomes are uncertain. But, as heralds of the Kingdom of God, a place is reserved for them in heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Those in power have always felt threatened by the good and the godly. How they persecuted our Lord, accusing him falsely and saying evil things against him! Princes and prelates have treated people like St Joan Of Arc and St Mary Mcallup disgracefully. Even now their opposition to the Holy Father is unbecoming. In no way is the behaviour different from that meted out to the prophets of old.
But, according to the Lord the victims were vindicated. They rejoice for their reward comes from heaven.