In today’s gospel, Jesus gives His famous sermon on the Beatitudes. Just as Moses did hundreds of years previous, Jesus ascends a mountain and then delivers the New Law (Moses gave the Old Law or the Ten Commandments). Yet, this New Law does not make the Old Law obsolete. Rather, it comes to fulfill the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments are instructions that dwell on actions that we should not do in order to avoid sin in a fallen world. Thus, we should not kill, steal, etc. But a loving relationship is not just about fulfilling tasks or avoiding offending another person. Rather, it is having a disposition that enables you to give ourselves freely to the other person. The Beatitudes show us what a Christian’s disposition should be in a fallen world. Because these dispositions are ones that call us to take up our cross and follow Him, Jesus gives us consolation that we will receive eternal justice.
As we hear the Beatitudes, they should serve as a litmus test to whether or not we have allowed the grace of God to transform our hearts. Ultimately, those who live out the Beatitudes, live with the personality and dispositions of Christ Himself.
Blessed are the poor in spirit….. Do we live each day of our life with humility, realizing that it is only through God’s grace and mercy that we remain in Him?
Blessed are those who mourn….. We do not have to lose a friend or family to mourn in this world. Do we mourn the fallen nature of the world and its injustices? Do we mourn our own sinfulness? Does the Truth of our broken world bring us to asking for the mercy of God?
Blessed are the meek….. Submissive, gentle, and quiet, are all words that worldly wisdom will tell us does not conquer. Yet Jesus became man, and did not grasp at being God. He was submissive even to the point of death on a cross. Even in the midst of persecution, do we resist the urge to conquer through force or quick-biting wit? Do we accept our cross (even if it means losing in the moment) and await our resurrection with confidence that God will triumph on His time?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness….. Do we desire the world to convert to belief and worship in Jesus, or do we accept the world as it is? Do we want peace and justice to win out at all cost to the point that our lives reflect this? Can people recognize this desire in our own lives?
Blessed are the merciful….. Do we forgive, even when it hurts or is a moment of humility? Do we realize that every time we pray the Our Father that we tell Him to give us mercy as much as we show others mercy? Are we thankful for opportunities to show mercy?
Blessed are the clean of heart….. Do we surround ourselves with uplifting media and conversation? Are our eyes focused on heavenly realities? Do we come to God holding onto nothing of our own, but receive the things God gives us (blessing or trial) with thankfulness?
Blessed are the peacemakers….. Do we strive to have the disposition of Jesus in the face of confrontation? Do we work for lasting peace rather than temporary placation?
Blessed are the persecuted….. Are we willing to suffer for standing up for justice or following Jesus? If we are living a truly Catholic life, there will be those who hate us because they hated Jesus.
If we read through this examination and humbly answer honestly, we know that God still has more changes He needs to make to our hearts. Yet, He will never force these changes on us. The only way we can receive the disposition of Jesus is to receive the sacraments, spend time in prayer, and do loving acts for our brothers and sisters. Jesus is calling us beyond being slaves to the Ten Commandments. He is giving us the disposition of freedom that we were created for. It is up to us to receive this gift.