September 11, 2019
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. “Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.” Lk_6:20-26
Did you ever hear someone say, “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it!”? And yet, we don’t hear very many people wishing to be poor or hungry, or mournful or persecuted, because it’s pretty obvious that none of those calamities will bring us joy or comfort or peace. And most of us know this, because at some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced those calamities.
So, we really have to wonder what Jesus was getting at with all of His blessings and His woes. You’d think that God, our loving Father, would be happy if we were all rich and well nourished, laughing and famous. Fortunately, for us, God knows that there’s always another side to achieving all of that worldly greatness, a darker side that we need to be warned about. A side that we never discover until we actually experience what we thought was going to be so wonderful.
God knows that the partners of wealth are greed and deceit, jealousy and idolatry. He knows that the partners of being filled are gluttony and laziness. The partners of happiness are vengeance and slander. And the partners of fame are pride
and prejudice, isolation and loneliness.
Remember, the sage said, “Be careful what you wish for.” Because, if we actually get it, we may be getting a whole lot more than we ever bargained for. And in the end, we just may be a whole lot worse off than when we were poor and hungry, mournful and persecuted.
Now, all of that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to strive for those calamities in life. But it does mean that, in our poverty we can recognize our freedom from all of those requirements of the material world, like repairing houses and cars, and lawnmowers, and fearing their breakdown or theft. It’s the freedom of thanksgiving for what we DO have, and giving to others who are even less fortunate than us.
It means that in our hunger we can empathize with those who suffer even worse calamities. In our mourning we can develop a compassion for all those who weep over their losses of loved ones, or pets, or jobs, or homes. And in consolation with them, we can even find the spark of Joy and Hope which Jesus and the Holy Spirit will pour into our hearts.
And when our hope and faith in Jesus is shunned by others, we can become even stronger, knowing that our hope is not a fleeting, worldly accomplishment, filled with pitfalls, but an Eternal, Heavenly and perfect hope.
As the saintly sage would profess, “Be careful what you hope for. For with Jesus on your side, you will definitely get it, and in more abundance than you ever imagined.”
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