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. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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 your reward will be great in heaven (Matthew 5:1-12a)
The desire to be happy is in each of us; to find happiness and peace, joy and contentment in life. At different stages of life we may look for it in different ways. A child is happy to be cared for, an adolescent sometimes to be left alone, sometimes to be close to others; we may be happy in success or praise.
Jesus knows that. He speaks today of how we find happiness, how we are totally blessed. He has a view of happiness different from many others. We find ‘Jesus happiness’ in being humble, gentle and kind, accepting of loss in life, in really going for what is just and right, in being straightforward and people of integrity, and in making peace. We find happiness in putting up with different hardships, humiliations and even injustice when the cause is for God.
He lived like this himself. He could preach the ‘beatitudes’ because he lived them. Watch him at different times in his life as he practiced what he preached, as also he praises the Beatitudes in the lives of his followers.
What can all of this mean for the saints to whom we honor on All Saint’s Day? It means that we align ourselves today with the historic chorus of people who have been sanctified by Christ, people who in happiness or difficulty, found their hope in Jesus and made their way as part of the kingdom of God. We join their work in the present as people who live according to the kingdom values outlined by Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount. Our blessings reside both in the present and the future.
According to Pope Francis, ‘This is the new law, the one we call ‘the Beatitudes’. It’s the Lord’s new law for us…the roadmap for Christian life which gives us the indications to move forward on the right path.
Prayer of The Day
Gracious God, you know how deeply we long for wholeness and a deeper happiness than we find in things and possessions. Teach us to take your Son’s beatitudes to heart, so that in letting go of those things that bind our hearts and minds, we may experience something of the joy and wonder now being experienced by all the saints in heaven. Amen.