Scripture Readings: Revelation 7.2-4,9-14; 1 John 3.1-3; Matthew 5.1-12
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; the reign of God belongs to them.” – Matthew 5.3
The beatitudes turn our assumptions about whom God blesses upside down. The eight sayings challenge us to live in ways quite contrary to profit-motivated values. The beatitudes expand in detail what the commandments to love God and neighbor ask of Christians.
God has not cursed or abandon but blesses people who are poor, sorrowing, and meek. God challenge us to bless them, too. The fourth beatitude blesses a hunger and thirst for holiness; the fifth blesses all who show the mercy they would like to receive. We are all capable of the actions the beatitudes ask of us.
The challenge to purity of heart often get sidetracked as about sexual issues but it’s about spirituality, about seeking and seeing God’s presence in our lives. Our world needs peacemakers who can open our eyes to others’ needs and experience and lead us to welcome rather than distain people different from us. We risk persecution in seeking justice but it’s part of treating our neighbors as ourselves.
Using this gospel on the feast of All Saints tells us the beatitudes outline the ordinary life of all Christians. A saint is a person in progress, not a finished product. Each of us offers a distinctive blessing on those we accompany in life. As St. Augustine writes, of the multitude of saints, “By passing along the narrow road they widen it; and while they went along, trampling on the rough ways, they went ahead of us.”
Think of a recent example in which you have experienced someone acting in the spirit of one or all of the beatitudes or is a distinctive blessing of his or her own.