Attitudes for Here and Now…
Imagine receiving the news that you are hungry, poor in spirit, persecuted or bereaved as congratulations! What a strange feeling it would be to be blessed in this way. This Sunday’s gospel is probably familiar to many as it is The Sermon on the Mount, otherwise called The Beatitudes. During mass you may even sing the words over again in one of the many hymns that have been written about this scripture. Jesus’ words of blessing offer the reader, once more, a view of God’s kingdom that turns around conventional wisdom, offering a new viewpoint and new challenges.
One phrase in this reading which always captured my attention was ‘poor in spirit.’
Growing up, I would wonder each time I heard it about what it meant to be poor in spirit. To come to the knowledge that this spoke of people who had no goods of earthly value but realised that they depended completely on God helped me to understand some of Jesus’ ideas about the kingdom of God and why these people were blessed. Over two thousand years later, it would seem that the idea of depending completely on God is still a radical one yet there are notable saints who have openly relied on God’s providence with deep faith and trust. We celebrate and remember them on this special day.
Do we still dream of God’s kingdom coming to fruition today? I have hope for this. We have all the worldly resources we need so that merciful love can be put into action and that those who are suffering in any way can be fed, healed, comforted and indeed deeply blessed. But it takes all to stand up for this dream. If we Christians take the first steps towards having the kingdom attitudes then we can be a light for others, a model for ways of living peacefully, justly and joyfully in the world. Our voices can make a difference. There may be words of persecution towards us in return but the Gospel today gives us the reassurance that the Kingdom of Heaven is ours.