For many of us who have been brought up in the faith, we may tend to gloss over the beautiful promises of the Beatitudes featured in this week’s gospel, due to the structure of this sermon. Sometimes it can sound monotonous after hearing it so many times in our lives like one does the Ten Commandments, or rolls into routine praying the rhythmic hail marys in a rosary. But for me, it was good to ponder this beautiful speech of Jesus anew.
In this time of my life, I, and all of us students at DePaul, are called to live as witnesses to the faith, and if you have journeyed through the Bible and learned from stories of prophets and holy martyrs, you know that their lives were many things, but they were not easy or comfortable. In many instances, they were pushed to do extraordinarily courageous things for God. We look up to them now as models for how to live our lives, appreciating how brave they were in their love for Him.
I am reminded of these holy heroes while reflecting on the beatitudes Jesus shared with us again this Sunday, and I hear Jesus calling me to take a look at my own life and how I am seeking to live it. Am I seeking comfort in the crowd or am I bold and risk-taking in my faith and love for God? Do I fall into filling my life with more and more material vanities to an unnecessary extent, or do I appreciate living only on what I need and living a life more geared towards humility and poverty by sharing my presence and my treasures with the poor? Yes, these behaviors are radical and may seem prickly and even impractical and fictitious. We might easily think “that is what saints do, but I’m not really a saint, I’m just a regular person who tries to be good.” But really this mindset is setting ourselves up for something less than the full beauty of the soul that God intended us to be when he created the world. And I’d rather go beyond the bare minimum.
Based on the inner peace in their testaments, I think all the saints in heaven would tell you that they never regretted choosing God over everything, choosing to lift their eyes to heaven instead of dwelling in the fleeting occupations in this world. So will you choose to live with your heart set in heaven or stuck on earth? Will you give now to receive God’s embrace of complete love, the ultimate satisfaction of the soul? Each day, how can I anticipate heaven? Lord Jesus, please help me to follow Your example along with the examples of the saints, which correlate with the beautiful Beatitudes you shared with us this Sunday. Help us to focus our eyes on the reward that is Your tender heart!