Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
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When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
The Beatitudes are the Magna Charta of Christian perfection. Therefore, from time to time we should closely examine each one of them to see how well we are doing.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Notice: the Lord did not say “Blessed are the poor.” He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In other words, “Blessed are the humble.” Humility does to the Christian Faith what sugar does to fruit: it makes it more attractive and digestible. It sweetens her message. It makes the Cross more digestible. It revitalizes the brokenhearted and surprises the conceited. It brings paupers and emperors to their knees. It forgives sinners and opens the heart of skeptics. It brings honesty to conversation and prayer. Humility is the truth.
Blessed are they who mourn. To have mourned means to have loved. Hence, the mourning process is an opportunity to finally give thanks to God for all the blessings in our lives. It is a necessary process to ensure closure on earth and eagerness for heaven.
Mourning does not lead to goodbye but until we meet again.
Blessed are the meek. Meekness means simplicity. The call to meekness is an open invitation to unclutter our lives from all our possessions and to make room to inherit the Promised Land. The simple life is truly a blessed life. To have only what you need is to be blessed. To live according to the Lord’s Commandments is to be blessed. Do you believe this? If so, then the peace of Christ is with you. Blessed are you!
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness. There is so much the world has to offer: money, power, careers, titles, toys, servants, security and comforts. And we could easily spend our entire life seeking all that is below. So before we do that, we should take a good look and seek what is above. “Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (cf. Mt 6:33).
There are no substitutes for God (i.e. love). There are no comforts or titles or privileges that could ever compare to the dignity and honor of being created in the image and likeness of God. There is not enough money in the world that could ever purchase His love or our holiness. So seek what can only be purchased by His blood, and all other things will be swept under the carpet.
Blessed are the merciful. We know there are many things about us that are easily recognizable in the animal kingdom. We also know there are many things we do as human beings that are distinctly human in nature. But there are some things we do that give light to the divine, and mercy is one of them.
Forgiveness and mercy are divine, especially when applied to one’s enemies. Unconditional love is another. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. In other words, they will see God face to face.
Mercy comes from above, not from below. It comes from the Holy Spirit and is the most recognizable feature of Christianity and of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Blessed are the clean of heart. A pure heart, O Lord, create in me. All that I am and all that I do originates from my heart. So the question is: to whom does my heart belong? To me? Not good. To others? Not good at all. To God? Now we are speaking. And there is still some hope left for me.
“Our hearts are restless, until they can rest in you.” There is a constant battle waging inside of us. Will we yield to the Holy Trinity or to the unholy trinity: me, myself and I? The battle for my heart, mind and body will continue to wage on until I see God face to face. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers. Without knees bending in prayer there will never be peace over the earth. There can be no peace without justice and no justice without forgiveness and no forgiveness without prayer.
Yesterday at the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed with the President of Israel and the President of Palestine for reconciliation and peace. Peace has eluded much of this part of the world for many reasons, especially for because world leaders have never really taken prayer or forgiveness seriously. The Holy Father’s invitation was a great first step towards peace.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. This morning I met someone who was truly being persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and it was eating her up. She couldn’t sleep at night; could hardly eat anything during the day. In the end, she was wondering why God was making her life miserable. What did I do to get God upset with me?
I asked her if she had read today’s Gospel passage. She had not. I opened up my Magnificat and read to her the beatitudes. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad”…for you are imitating me.
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