Matthew and the Blessing of New Life (Mt 5:1-12)

We’re basking in the beauty of the Easter Season which will carry us up to Pentecost. This is where we cash in on the new life won by the Resurrected Christ. At the coming of the Holy Spirit, the faithful yet fearful disciples were filled with courage and even ingenuity. They were literally on fire for the Word. They preached it and they lived it out.

All Christians share in this “Gospel-ness.” We are commissioned by the Holy Spirit just as the first disciples were. We too are to preach the Word, but also to live it. We have to be, if you will, the evidence that the Easter Story is true. One of the best ways to do this is to make a serious effort to live the Beatitudes.

The string of beatitudes as Jesus set them out read as a set of causes and effects, a kind of pact or agreement. It is as if Jesus says, “If you do this, I will make the following promise to you.”

A little note: some folks read these beatitudes as words addressed only to the disciples; others see them as meant also for the other people assembled around for the Sermon on the Mount (or on the Plain). If the translations are correct, Jesus spoke to more than his immediate disciples because he said, “Blessed are they….” None of this speculation is terribly important now because the beatitudes as we read them in Matthew and Luke are directed to us who today are both followers  and disciples. How blessed then are we?

1) If we are poor in spirit, the kingdom, the reign of God, is ours. This promise is not about being a spiritual poor sport, nor about the spiritually disinterested, nor the desperate. Being poor in spirit means the inner core, your very self, your identity is humble, dependent and hopeful in the Lord as that of a child. It means your energy of spirit isn’t claimed as something self-generated. You aren’t a self-made spiritual person, but all is given by God, sustained and claimed by God. Nothing is our own, neither body nor mind, neither soul nor spirit. All is gift.

As the rallying song puts it: “Our God reigns”,  not just in his heaven, but also in and through me. The reign of God is within. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth (that is in me and through me) as it is in heaven.”

(To be continued)