Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pretty Ugly

The Gospel for the Feast of All Saints' (November 1st, but can be observed on the next Sunday) is Matthew 5:1-12.

Known as the Beatitudes, Jesus' words are sometimes heard as sweet and sentimental. We imagine them pretty: better for crosstitch than for the cross.

But they are words for those willing to walk the ugly way of sorrows. All of the "blessings" are found by being out of step, on the outside, broken or on the bottom.

Contrary to paintings and movies, where Jesus announces these words from a mountaintop for all the world to hear, the Lord went away from large crowds and let only his committed disciples hear this teaching. His words are for the few who will start the journey and not turn back when it becomes ugly - those who will stay on the narrow, difficult path instead of the wide, easy road.

The poor in spirit are the "little people" who know their need of God - they can inherit the treasure God holds.

The mourners have hearts that break for others - they can feel God's touch soothing their hearts.

The meek are overrun by the proud and powerful - they will be gentle enough to tend God's new earth.

Those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness know their own emptiness and need - they can receive the fullness of Christ.

The merciful do not inflict their "justice" on others - they can expect mercy at the final judgment.

The pure in heart are not distracted by created things - they can see the Creator.

The peacemakers restore broken bonds - they can know the unbreakable bond of the Father's love.

Those persecuted for Christ receive the highest "compliments" of the world, the flesh and the devil - they have ears tuned to hear the final and eternal compliment from Christ, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master."

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

The way of blessing isn't the easy way. The begger Lazarus rests in the bosom of Abraham and the rich man's name isn't even remembered!