2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
The Beatitudes are so familiar we sometimes don’t consider what relevance they might have for us. Often preachers concentrate on the first “Blessed” that of being poor in spirit. What about those who mourn?
Anyone who is reading this is old enough to have mourned. We have lost parents or grandparents, friends or children, and have suffered from it. I have known people who are still mourning a parent after 20 or 30 years. Now, I’m not talking about the ongoing sense of loss that we all feel when we no longer have an important person in our lives, but such a deep seated grief, that they can’t seem to move on with their lives. Sometimes, this death has occurred after months, or even years of suffering. I wonder what they believe about death and eternal life.
Jesus’ promise is that he has conquered death by his own death and resurrection. Do we believe this?
The death of a loved one forces us to answer this question. Who are we grieving for? Are we grieving for the person who we say we believe is now with God, or are we grieving for our own loss? Only remembering the promise of Christ can truly bring us comfort.
Let’s move on to the gentle. In some translations, the word used is “meek.” So often, the gentle, the meek, are seen as weak. In our world, to be gentle or meek takes true strength. To turn the other cheek; to refuse to seek revenge; to walk away from a confrontation are all seen as signs of weakness. Yet, Jesus tells us that is just such as these that will inherit the earth. Our media tells us that violence is the answer to all the questions and yet more was accomplished by the likes of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, than by those who believe in violence. These are people who also represent those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Let us follow their example so that we, too, will be filled.
Lord, let us take some time to meditate on the Beatitudes so that we may know how you want us to live. Amen.