Summary: A sermon detailing what Christ is truly saying to us through the Beatitudes.
By Fr. James
1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Many times when we think of this statement, we think of someone who has become depressed, abused, or downtrodden, yet in the actual reference we get the true meaning….Humility. Humble people inherit the kingdom of heaven. Many times in our lives we are beset with situations where we could become proud of what we are versus what someone else is. I call this the pride of ignorance. I think of the Pharisee and the Sinner at the wall praying to God for guidance when I think of this verse. The Pharisee prays and thanks God he is not like the sinner near him who commits all sorts of sins on a daily basis and how good he is for tithing ten percent of all he has. While the Pharisee prays that astounding prayer, we see the sinner, engrossed with feelings of shame, regret, and wishing nothing more than to be the man God wants him to be. He says, “Forgive me, a sinner.” Jesus stated that it was the sinner that was justified in the eyes of God that day because the “sinner” understood we are all sinners saved by grace and unless we want to inherit the condemnation of the Pharisee we should stop acting like the good Pharisee and become like the Good Shepherd. Jesus Christ was completely humble yet he had every right to be prideful if anyone did…HE WAS GOD. Yet, he did not say “Aren’t I stupendous? I am God and all you miserable offenders are to be squashed under my thumb of dominant superiority.” On the contrary, Christ exemplified the grace and humility that he requires of each of us in order that we may be true Christians and not modern Pharisees.
Blessed are those who mourn…
The word blessed in this verse means for those who are in deep mourning and sorrow that God will give you a happiness that is “produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace.” Jesus knows what sorrow is for he grieved for the people who rejected him when he wept over Jerusalem. He cried that they should’ve heard his words and repented of their transgressions and understood him to be the messiah, but since they did not change their hearts and minds and followed after the status quo instead of their savior, they would endure hardship until the Second Coming in glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus wants to give you life amidst the sorrow that tends to overcome you. He wants to bless you with solace in your storm and keep you close to His chest. Let Him do that and you will be blessed.
Blessed are the meek…
Meekness is not cowardice or shyness, it is that state of being mild, patient, and long-suffering. In our lives we come across people or situations that tend to make us not want to embrace this traits and sometimes understandably so, but in God’s viewpoint if we are quick to pass judgment, quick to become angry, quick to seek vengeance or vindication for ourselves, we are committing grievous sins that can separate us from the serenity that is found in Christ. Meekness is something that is horribly lacking in the world and church today. We constantly strive for our own agendas, feelings, or recognition. We seek for a place of pride in our lives because we feel we cannot be a true person unless we can “stand up for ourselves” even to the point of meanness. This is not a trait God is ever pleased with and, in fact, condemns. Turning the other cheek and loving those who hurt and ridicule you were not metaphors, they were meant to be taken literally. Remember, the true account of reality resides in the eternal realm where God dwells. Our limited and finite understanding of time and existence fades in comparison to what God knows to be true. “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I will repay.” It is God that will repay the unkindness, the cruelty, the gossip, the backbiting, lies, innuendo, etc that we suffer as a result of doing God’s work and it is to Him ultimately that we are to look for, for guidance and justification.