THE BEATITUDES OF JESUS ARE REVOLUTIONARY.
The Beatitudes present a model of happiness contrary to what is usually communicated by the media and by the prevailing wisdom.
Today, what is glorified is success at any cost, affluence, the arrogance of power and self-affirmation at the expense of others. According to the logic of this world, those whom Jesus proclaimed blessed are regarded as useless, “losers”.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
BLESSED ARE THE POOR -WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It seems confusing because we ought to strive to be rich in spirit, not poor.
At a time when so many people are suffering as a result of the financial crisis, it might seem strange to link poverty and happiness. How can we consider poverty a blessing? Does Jesus teach material poverty? Jesus is here talking about the condition of the spirit, not of the wallet.
Jesus loves everybody. Jesus wants to bless everyone, so why would he single out the economically poor for some kind of special blessing?
Economic poverty and sociological poverty often overlap, but not always. There are the “sociological poor”; these include people who are marginalized and oppressed, rendered vulnerable and given over to all sorts of hardships for reasons not of their own making. They are deprived the basic dignities which should be accorded all human beings–and it their spirits are often crushed, they are often broken-hearted, as a result.
It goes far beyond merely keeping the commandments: trying to gain eternal life. It’s undergoing a profound change in all of our attitudes, our value system, to really come to know Jesus, to hear His message, to imitate His way of life, to follow Him. That will require profound conversion.
Jesus is talking more about an attitude, a way of knowing one’s need for God, which is a disposition of the heart and not simply economic deprivation.
“When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
We understand that material goods are not a be-all and end-all for anyone, or should not be. We understand that we need enough to have a full human life, but we don’t need excess. We understand that God made the world for all and not just for a few, and so we need to find ways to share the goods of the earth and the goods of our world so everyone has a chance for a full human life.
The poor in spirit are those who recognize their total spiritual destitution and their complete dependence on God. So that the logic of being more will prevail over that of having more!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Matthew 5:3