Revelation 7, 2-4, 9-14 + Psalm 24 + 1 John 3, 1-3 + Matthew 5, 1-12
It is the formula for Sanctity that we receive today from Matthew’s Gospel. It is the way of life led by Bernadette and remembered by all who gather in this holy place day after day, season after season. However it is translated, “Blessed” or “Happy”, the original sense of the word Matthew used is really a word of Congratulations. So if this text were literally translated we would be reading: “Congratulations you people who are poor or mourning, or meek or hungry.” This is a good way to be. This is the way it is in the reign of God.
Poverty is not a good thing, but being helpless is. Mourning is not good either, but it is a sign that someone has loved, and nothing bonds people like the sharing of suffering and pain, so those who mourn are people who have not been left alone. Meekness is what we find in those who bless our lives. They walk with God are filled with respect. The righteous have struck a balance in life with a wholeness that brings them close to God. The Merciful are those who understand what another experiences in life. They remind us what God has done by taking on our flesh. And the clean of heart are just the simple people who mean what they say and say what they mean while Peacemakers are not troublemakers. They make this a better place to live.
We are in a holy place today where Beatitudes are real, where Happiness is found because people come here who are poor, meek, merciful, clean of heart. There are people here who mourn, who leave here clean of heart, and find peace. Beatitudes are something that happens to us and something we become when we realize the truth and the fact that we are helpless and hopeless without God. Beatitudes happen when we quit trying to buy, acquire, or earn happiness and simply discover that we are Blessed just the way we are.
There will be no place for us among the saints, no place for us in glory until we embrace our poverty and helplessness; until we become peacemakers and and accept the pains and disappointments of life as easily as we accept the joys; until we become pure of heart, simple and pure, honest and sincere thirsting for what is right. Finally, Beatitude will be us when we are merciful and put away the score cards we sometimes keep on our friends and loved ones refusing to repay and replay hurts and evil. These are values not of this world, but of the world to come in which those who are Christ’s own already have begun to live.
Saint Bernadette, teach us these happy ways. Saint Bernadette, Pray for us.