Matthew 5: 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What the world sees as tragic or empty, Jesus sees as blessed: humility, mourning, gentleness, peacefulness and other virtues. Jesus can encourage us to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes as He lived them himself. Watch him at different times in his life as he practised what he preached, as also he praised the Beatitudes in the lives of his followers, showing that a life of integrity and honesty is indeed a blessed life. It’s easy to recite these ‘blesseds’ as a sort of mantra. They are the vision statement of Jesus. He lived what he said – that all of life is blessed, even the experiences we might never ask for. All who live according to his way of life are – and will be – richly blessed. I allow these blessings to come home to me. I imagine Jesus carefully speaking them to me, aware of my poverty, sadness and hunger. As I live with difficulties, I seek to hear Jesus speaking the Beatitudes to me as I encounter them. Think of the affirmation that Jesus gives to what is fragile, weak and overlooked in the eyes of the world. I hear him say, ‘Well done’ to me for how I have lived in his spirit
God blesses those who realize their need for him,
for the kingdom of heaven is given to them.
But we have been proud in spirit.
We have forgotten how needy we are.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
But we have not mourned over our sins,
instead we have insulated ourselves from those around us.
God blesses those who are gentle and lowly,
for the whole earth will be their inheritance.
But we have valued toughness over gentleness.
Like the prodigal son, we want to satisfy ourselves rather than our Father.
God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice,
for they will receive it in full.
But we have hungered after the pleasures, prestige,
and possessions of this temporal world.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
But we have often presided as harsh judges
over the lives of others.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
But we have defiled our hearts with idols of our own choosing,
doubting that God will keep his Word and his promises.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
But we are often at war with one another.
In a thousand little ways we demand to be catered to.
God blesses those who are persecuted,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
But we have too often retreated
from the disapproval of others.
Lord, please show us your mercy.
Lord, have mercy upon us
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.