The Beatitudes

02-13-2022Gospel MeditationFr. Bing Colasito

The Gospel contains the teaching of Jesus about the Beatitude, The Blessed. They are those who seem in the eyes of the world not blessed - at the same time, Jesus warns the blessed in the world’s estimation. In the first part, Jesus presents the Blessed: the poor, hungry, those who are weeping, those who are hated and insulted. Why did He say “woe” to the rich, those who have much food, who are laughing, and whom people speak well? The Gospel Beatitude is both a teaching and a reproach - they are an indictment to people who feel blessed because they have more than what they need, strive to be secure, and work to make people speak well of them.

Jesus reveals that wealth guarantees nothing. Once we think we have more than enough, or we are rich - we sometimes fall into that sense of self-satisfaction that leaves no room for God in our life. God is love, so do not forget that authentic love for God extends to the love of neighbors or the enjoyment of what matters in life. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? (Mt.16:26) Jesus wants us not to miss the real treasure. The blessed are the poor in spirit, or the lowly of heart, for it is easier for God to enter and penetrate the soul transforming them into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In the life and ministry of Jesus, we see the perfect love of God and neighbor. For this reason, before His ascension, He gives the disciples a new commandment. You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mt. 22:36-39) The commandment is the heart of discipleship; if we grow in the love of God and neighbor, we fulfill the highest purpose of life. And at the same time, prepare ourselves for life eternal, communion with the Triune God.

The founder of the Franciscan Order, St. Francis of Assisi comes from a wealthy family, his father being a rich merchant. After his conversion, Francis renounced all material wealth and started to live by the simple rule of poverty. The Gospel about the Rich Young Man and Jesus’ command to sell everything you have and give to the poor became the foundational rule of the Order. Poverty became the main charism of St. Francis and his Order. He deliberately chooses to be poor, calling poverty Lady Poverty, so much did he cherish it. Looking at the life and example of St. Francis, we can say that holy poverty is his highest blessing.

The Gospel is a great consolation - to hear from the Beatitudes that there is dignity, hope for the last, the least, the lost, that sufferings and persecutions are temporary. When we pass this world, eternal life is waiting. And if today our life is stressful and not peaceful, Jesus invites us to walk the way of the Beatitudes, the road of simplicity, humility, patience, and trust, to a more joyful and peaceful life.