The Least on Earth

Matthew 5: 1-12
1Kgs 17:1-6 / Psa 121

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
(Matthew 5:12)

Be clean of heart and sower of peace;
Be humble and compassionate.
All our suffering this hope will ease:
The least on earth are in heaven great.

Now 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. He said: “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 children 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

The poor in spirit, those who are in mourning, the meek, the seekers of justice, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted, all of them are in pain because of man’s inhumanity to man. Like the prophets of God, they have sacrificed their own well-being for the sake of others. But their sufferings are not for nothing, because our loving God sees them all, and all the persecutions, hurts and insults heaped on them will fade to insignificance when they receive their reward in God’s kingdom. The Beatitudes are God’s Covenant that He will fulfill.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers from them all. (Psalm 34:19-20)

Do you often wonder why, for all the sacrifices that you go through in the service of God’s Word and His kingdom, you still don’t get the break to make a small fortune in your business or profession? Do you catch yourself praying, “Lord, if I am free of these financial concerns, I can concentrate more on serving well in my ministry, or I can give more in tithes, and help more people”?

God knows us more than we know ourselves, and definitely knows better what is good for us. To live a life of simplicity (even if we are wealthy) is what He wants us to achieve when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (5:3). It is not for nothing that this is the first of the Beatitudes. If He had given us the worldly riches that we dream about we most probably would not be the kind of Christians that we have become today—certainly not closer to Him, and far from being wise in the true path of life.

No man can pursue two dreams or aspirations –- especially those as disparate as the temporal and spiritual – any more than one can serve two masters. Our primary goal in this life is how we can become worthy to earn the kingdom in the next life, and achieving earthly fortunes is never consonant with this primal goal. Let St. Paul’s words give us strength: “Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.” (2Cor.1:7)

Grant us the grace, Father God, to keep our focus on your kingdom; keep us from being distracted by the false lights of this world, and the lies of the evil one. Amen.

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