8 Lessons from the Beatitudes

Matthew 5: 1-12
2Cor 1: 1-7 / Psa 34

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…
(Matthew 5:12)

If we aspire to reach heaven,
We must take on Christ’s attitude;
Heed the lessons He has given:
Trust His Word in the Beatitudes.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and He began to teach them saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-12)

Reflection

Most of the lessons that Jesus taught His followers then, as He is teaching us now, seem to be encapsulated in the Beatitudes. According to our Lord, it is the poor, the mourning, the humble, the hungry, and those who are persecuted who will eventually be the beneficiaries of the kingdom of God.

The first lesson in the Beatitudes is about realizing how poor we are in spirit. It is acknowledging our sinfulness, and our total dependence on God’s mercy, as well as in His generosity. We can never achieve salvation on our own efforts, and must therefore put our complete faith in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, just as we put our trust in the Father for all our needs. Only by emptying ourselves of all earthly desires can we truly be filled with God’s blessings.

The second lesson is closely related to the first, if only to emphasize the value of putting our trust in God. We mourn for the pains and death that our Lord Jesus suffered in Calvary to redeem us from our sins. But mourning is also followed by rejoicing, as in the Resurrection. We also mourn for our loss. When a brother in Christ shared that he lost a son with congenital defects at birth, I told him that he could still be grateful that his son was spared of the painful and complicated life that he would surely have faced if the baby had lived.
The third lesson is about humility. Humble men are meek and compliant, submissive to God’s will. But that doesn’t mean they are weak. On the contrary, they are stronger than the proud, because submission means bending our will and passions to conform to the new life that God is calling us to follow. True humility requires great discipline. Great successful men never boast; they just go about their business doing their best.

The fourth lesson is to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Once enlightened, we hunger for the holiness that only Christ can give in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We thirst for His Word in the Holy Bible. We crave for the ideal to “be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.” In our community’s campaign for honesty, we employ the Gospel values that we have learned in order to transform the face of business.

The fifth lesson is about being merciful. Both in the Old and the New Testament, God said He did not care much for sacrifices or offerings as He did for mercy. Mercy is love in action. Mercy is forgiveness from the heart. Jesus is God’s Divine Mercy. If we are to obtain His mercy to forgive us for our sins, we should also show mercy to others who may have offended us.

The sixth and seventh lessons complete our transformation: we become pure of heart, and imitate Jesus as bearers of peace. And finally, if we are to follow our Lord perfectly, we must also take up our cross, and experience persecution for the sake of righteousness and the Gospel. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1Cor.1:18). Let us practice these eight lessons, or eight steps towards perfection taught by our Lord Jesus in the Beatitudes; it is our surest way to the kingdom of God.

We thank You, Jesus for the beautiful lessons that You have taught us in Your Beatitudes. May they all live in our hearts that we may reach the perfection that You promised. Amen.

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