Listen to Jesus
By Andrew Bolton of Independence, MO, USA
“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 receive 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 for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. —Matthew 5:3–12 NRSV
The traditional site where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount is a small hill on the north shore of Lake Galilee. Today there is a chapel there with a splendid view of the inspiringly beautiful lake. No wonder Jesus wanted to hang out here with his disciples! As we walked up to the chapel, we passed each of the Beatitudes on markers by the path. We paused to reflect on each one as we passed.
The Beatitudes introduce the Sermon on the Mount. They are steps on the path of discipleship, markers on our journey of transformation. We begin with being poor in spirit and are blessed by the promise of grace. We mourn for our mistakes and are blessed by reassurance. Abandoning arrogance, we come in meekness and Jesus promises us the humble will not be left out. If we hunger and thirst to live just lives that honor the worth of all persons, we will be truly satisfied. If, in our pursuit of justice, we also practice mercy, we will also receive mercy. If we do not have mixed motives, then indeed we shall see God. If we abandon war and become peacemakers, then we are truly God’s children. If we stand up for the right and Jesus, no matter what persecution comes our way, we are assured of the promise of the kingdom of heaven.
The Beatitudes are eight promises to encourage us on our journey to full conversion. Listen to Jesus!
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.