Revelation 7, 2-4, 9-14 + Psalm 24 + 1 John 3, 1-3 + Matthew 5, 1-12
November 1, 2016 at St Peter Catholic Church in Naples, FL
For the power of this Gospel to inspire and move us deeper into the mystery of Christ, these Beatitudes must be understood as an exclamation of what is, not some not pious hope of what shall be. They are not glowing prophecies of some future bliss or some future world postponed. The beatitudes are a proclamation of what it is to know Jesus as Lord. They proclaim the conditions in which people of the Covenant live.
The best way to look at these Beatitudes is to see them as a revelation of what God is really like revealed in the life of Christ Jesus. If we are made in God’s image, then these Beatitudes are about what we have been created to be, which is what “Blessed” really means. It describes those who are most God-like. Luke begins his narrative of the mission of Jesus with this sermon. It is an outline of what we shall hear and come discover is the very life of Christ as the Gospel begins to unfold. He is the one who is poor and persecuted with no place to lay his head, chased from his own synagogue, hunted and haunted by Scribes and Pharisees. He is the suffering servant alone among human kind meek and pure of heart. He above all others hungered and thirsted for his Father’s holiness from an encounter at a well in Samaria to that moment on the cross when he cried out “I thirst.” He alone touched the depths of both the human and divine sorrow standing over unrepentant Jerusalem and at the grave of his friend, Lazarus. He alone showed perfect mercy to those who were ungrateful and even to his friend, Peter.
Those whose memory we celebrate today shared his Spirit having heard and accepted his words. They were transformed slowly and painfully into a community we call “Saints”. They were “Beatified” or “Blessed”. They became so in this life by conforming their lives to Christ Jesus. They did not have to die to become Blessed. They found God exactly where God wanted to be found and be known, in Jesus Christ. These Beatitudes tell us where to find God; not outside of ourselves, but within. These Beatitudes announce that God is to be found when we give up seeking happiness in things and the stuff of this world and become totally dependent upon God. This is what it is to become Christ like or “Blessed.” We are merciful, hungry and thirsty, single hearted, and peaceful.
These Beatitudes announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand for anyone who chooses to conform their lives to Christ Jesus. It is a choice we make day by day. It is choice and a chance to be glad and be joyful. For Blessed are we who hear the Word of God and keep it in our hearts for then we will be living in the reign of God. We will see God, know mercy, be consoled, always remember that they we children of God.