December 13, 2010, Third Monday in Advent
Scripture: Matthew 5:3-12
God blessed those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy, God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Did you catch it? Did you catch who God will bless?
God blesses the poor, the mourner, the humble, the hungry, the merciful, the pure, the peacemaker, the persecuted, and the mocked. This doesn’t seem like an outstanding list of things many of us would want to be associated with, yet God associated these characteristics as being blessed and shown favor. Why?
That is because God’s kingdom is not our own. We promote the rich, the proud, and the popular to positions of leaders, while we overlook the potential of others. Yet, God says that it is not the rich who receive blessings, but it is the poor. It is not the one who promotes violence, but the one who promotes peace that will receive God’s favor.
We are called to live in a reality that is aligned with God’s idea of kingdom. We are called to be people whom are associated with God’s ideas of living in this world, and not the world’s ideas.
What would that look like for us today? What would it mean for us to bless the poor – both the financially poor and the spiritual poor? To comfort the mourner? To be more humble? To feed the hungry? To seek justice? To show mercy? To be more pure in our thoughts, words, and deeds? To seek peace among our fellow brothers and sisters? To be persecuted for aligning ourselves with God’s kingdom and not the world’s kingdom?
It will be different for each of us as we live our lives. For all of us, allow the Beatitudes to frame us into a spirit of thanksgiving for all God has blessed us, and a time of discernment – or contemplation – about where God may call us to take on these attitudes in the coming weeks and months.
Lord, we thank you for your many blessings. We thank you for the poor, the mourner, the humble, the hungry, the justice seeker, the merciful, the pure, the peacemaker, and the persecuted. May we align ourselves with these images of your kingdom as we live in our world. In Christ’s name, Amen.